Remembering History

My brother recently sent an email with all sorts of family background. Interesting how similar and how different our parents’ and grandparents’ lives were compared to ours. There’s a pattern which is slightly eerie.

So much I didn’t know. My mother was the only one who talked much about her childhood and then less about her adult years, partly because they weren’t pleasant early on and also because we were there later. Except, of course, as children we didn’t see or understand things the way she would have. We didn’t see what they saw.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of my brother, we have our genealogy back a dozen generations. But those who touched us–or almost touched us–are a mystery.

And now they’re all gone. My parents, their parents. Most of that generation—called The Greatest—and those before are so much ink or bits of electronic charge. Except, of course, some of them still live in our hearts. Rest in Peace.

Is your parent or grandparent still alive? When was the last time you talked to them? They’ll soon be gone beyond the reach of the telephone, computer or post office.
Is there something you wonder about? Ask.

You may be repeating a pattern you thought was unique with you. Nobody knows the troubles you’ve seen? Don’t bet on it. Perhaps your mother or father saw them, too. Be prepared for stonewalling and even anger. Some of the Good Old Days weren’t.

But ask anyway. You’ll regret not having done so some day.

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4 thoughts on “Remembering History

  1. Yes, I know that last paragraph is repeated, but Word Press won’t let me edit it out. Sorry.

    “To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer.”

  2. My mother gave me a file of her family history, back to her great-grandmother. Much of it written by Mother’s great-aunt. On father’s side I have papers back to 16-year-old Tommy who ran away from home and joined the Rebs in the Civil War as a bugler, and further back to Devon, England. My grandfather worked with a genealogist. I’ve got a big file and some I donated to the Va. Historical Society.

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