Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saving The Stories

They remember. I was too small. Vague memories tug at the edge of my mind. I remember the little pink coat, the way it smelled when it was wet. I remember the hat being tied beneath my chin. A whisper of memory quickly passes remembering the snow at The Mead in Ludington, Michigan. Just a whisper. But, my sisters remember.

I didn't know the questions to ask. So busy with my life, I didn't notice that there were questions. Sitting around the kitchen table on the farm on Neff Road, I listened to family stories. Friends, family, neighbors. Whoever walked through that door opened more information into the family past. But I didn't take note. I didn't listen.

We didn't have a video camera back the lane. Our neighbors have some old 8mm film of us as little kids, but we had nothing but an old box camera and a little Brownie camera. We had no tape recorder to capture the stories, to hear the voices. Our history was related in the stories we heard. I was so busy with children and my own life that I didn't listen closely enough. I didn't know the questions to ask. I didn't care enough.

We went to visit my Uncle Bob at the Brethren Home. My kids were teenagers and not really interested, but we took the video camera along and set it up. I was beginning to realize that I needed to ask the questions. The tape was filled with family history and the telling by my uncle. For some reason, I never set the camera up on Mom and Dad. My questions for them were not asked. Not then.

I am curious now. The stories of the past are important to me. I lived with my parents for eighteen years, yet I knew so little of their growing up. Since Mom and Dad are gone, I do the next best thing. I ask my sisters. We piece together memories and experiences. They remember.

My children do not ask the questions. I try to share my childhood memories with my grandchildren. They aren't really ready to ask the questions either. So I blog. I write a history of the family I remember. I write a history of another time in Darke County, Ohio. I write a history in case someone asks the questions when I'm not here to answer.

We are all family history. We are all important to those we love whether or not they realize the treasured memories we possess. For some day, some distant day, someone will ask, and when they do, they will be glad we remembered.

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