Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Capturing Memories

I captured a memory this morning. It was something my mother told me in the early days of my obsession with genealogy. At the time, I wasn't wise enough to explore the clues and then the memory was forgotten.

What she told me was this. As a young man, my father would go to the post office in our little town on this side of the river and talk to Civil War veterans about their experiences. How cool was that? My father actually knew Civil War veterans, but I never thought to ask what they had told him. Did they tell him where they served or if they were injured? Did they tell him how they felt to leave their families or how it felt to come home after the war? I know Our Town had a number of men who served in the war - one or two even served on the Other Side. How I wish I knew who my father listened to and what they told him.

Lots of people are Sons of This or Daughters of That and some are even members of several of these groups. Why, I even know one person who is a Daughter of the South and also a Daughter of the North. Maybe she wants to be safe just in case fighting breaks out again. Honoring your dead ancestors is an art in some areas and I guess my honoring will take the form of learning everything possible about them, but realizing they were ordinary people of their time.

Now, back to the subject at hand. Take a minute, think about stories your parents or grandparents told, review any notes you took and try your hand at capturing some memories. And then transcribe those memories for your children.

1 comment:

LSW said...

My grandmother had the same regret you have. She sat at her grandfather McAfee's knee as he regaled them with tales of his war days, which included fighting Indians with Custer. She remembered very little of his stories. She was small at the time and he was a rambling old man telling boring stories. I would give my eyeteeth to have access to some of those stories.

Thank heavens she remembered a lot of stories she heard at a later age. Thanks to her memories and stories, I have solved a number of near-brick walls. Unfortunately NOT the McAfee solid brick wall.