***The water the tree drinks is flavored with the distinct notes of place. Hints of the pastmingle with newly turned topsoil making each bit of land unique. The roots, the trunk of the tree, carry the blood of these generations to the whole tree and tie its life to the land.It may take a while to really flourish into a commanding presence, but when left to itsown devices, the tree will show its success in its multitude of branches, limbs, leaves, andflowers.***Thomas Brennan’s decision to move to Elkhart, and John Joseph’s decision to stay therewould directly influence the lives of his son, my great-grandfather Matthew, and mygrandmother and her sisters. John Joseph was the first generation to really establish a lifehere, in Illinois, that was no longer in transition, no longer divided between twocountries. This stretch of land, this soil, this place then would become the foundation for what all our succeeding generations have come to call home.