Suppose you picked up a printed family history, or visited a family history
website and ALL it included were names, dates and places. There would be:
- no biographies
- no source citations
- no chronicles of family traditions
Talk about an antiseptic world!
Talk about an unbelievable compiled family history.
We need the facts, but...
WE ALSO NEED OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES -- down
there in black and white in notes for each person on our family tree because:
- we knew them personally
- our parents told us about them
- our grandparents or other relatives told us
- we found something written (obit, county
history, military unit history) about them
This morning a friend wrote about a recipe he found
for "APPLE CRISP." He mentioned that he had asked his mother about it
toward the end of her life, but her stove was broken, so they didn't press her
for details. Now that she has gone, he wishes he had at least helped her make
it, and then taken it home to his place to bake it. Isn't it interesting how
childhood memories of food seem to rate high on our list of favorite things?
Why not write up a little story about something
as seemingly insignificant as Mom's Apple Crisp?
DON'T YOU THINK STORIES LIKE THIS WOULD BE A
DELIGHTFUL ADDITION TO YOUR COMPILED FAMILY HISTORY? Put the the apple crisp
story right there in notes for your mom. Write a paragraph in your Dad's notes
about his favorite things -- working on the boat, preparing for a bow hunting
trip with the guys, a baseball game. (That reminds me, I am perhaps the only
daughter who truly appreciated that her dad once gave her season tickets to the
University of Washington Huskies football games for a Christmas present.) I
should write about that, and how my dad took me to a few games (just the 2 of
us) when I lived nearby as a young mother.
Funny how little recollections of one incident will
lead to another, for instance:
I CANNOT BELIEVE MY PARENTS LET ME take the
bus to the orthodontist by myself. We thought nothing of it in the early 1960s,
quite different from life in 2005! I walked about 2 miles from our home at 4216
55th NE in Laurelhurst to the bus stop across the street from the Rexall
(spelling?) Drugstore. Somehow I had been taught to get off at the right stop
and walk another block or two to the ortho's office.
THAT STORY REMINDS ME HOW GUILTY I FEEL that
I inadvertently stole a small 18 cent pink eraser from that drug store at about
the same time. I was shopping for back-to-school items while mom sat under the
hair dryer at the nearby beauty salon. I was probably in 4th or 5th grade. I was
trying to juggle an fountain pen, a bottle of ink, a notebook and filer paper
with a pack of pencils and that darned eraser. I remember attempting to look
through a stack of 3x5 inch small spiral pads, but the eraser kept falling to
the floor. (Was this in the days before shopping carts?) Anyway, I guess I put
the eraser in the pocket of my light-weight jacket and I didn't find it until
the next spring when I wore the jacket again. At that time I was paralyzed by
fear, and didn't do anything. Years later as an adult I returned to Seattle, and
drove past the the site, and found that the drugstore building was empty. I
can't imagine how my 18 cent error put the Rexall out of business, but that is
the first thought that crossed my mind. They have amnesty for overdue books at
the library, but there was no way I could "fix" the pink eraser
So, DearREADERS, let's "flesh out" our
family tree by making anecdotal entries in addition to the names, dates and
places in our genealogy software. Entering childhood memories could really make
or family histories much more interesting for the generations that follow.
Happy family tree climbing!
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207