Tell your family's stories. George H.W. Bush said it best: "You are the living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the stories of the struggles waged, at home and abroad, Of sacrifices they made."
I've written about this subject before, but I don't hesitate to write about it again, as I think it's that important. And some of my readers weren't interested before. But perhaps now, in this time and place, you might give writing and telling those stories a try.
The seed for this blog came about through Facebook. During Black history month, there were some great stories posted. And now it's Women's History month, and again, wonderful stories. We all have some great women in our own families--strong women--with wonderful stories that should be told to our children and grandchildren. And no matter how small the stories may seem, it makes those ancestors come alive for all of us.
Do you have some relatives or friends still alive who were part of the Greatest Generation? Interview them and tell their stories while we still have time! My husband and I have one parent left from that generation. It's my mother-in-law, and she's sweet to let me interview her. We all know how the older generation loves to reminisce, so I actually think she enjoys it.
Ask questions about some world event. You get a lot of insight into their soul when you frame questions around some struggle they went through. For my mother-in-law it was World War II.
I loved asking her this question. I need to know and certainly my children and grandchildren need to know. That war was certainly much more than the facts we memorize in school. These were real people, OUR people, that went through this. And their tales are not about the glory of war, but of the day to day struggles of ordinary people.
She told me about rationing and food scarcity. She recounted how German planes were shot down in the area of her farm, and how they feared that an enemy might be hiding in the countryside or in a neighbor's barn. She told about sirens going off which meant you had to take cover.
A favorite memory (for me) reveals so much of our ancestors' love and humanity. My mother-in-law recounted about some of the fun times that they did have during the war. She and her sisters would walk to town and go to the movies. It was war-time and England suffered from constant bombing from German bombers, so at night, there were no lights turned on--it was a total black-out. The girls would have to walk home in the dark, and as they crossed the final fields to their farmhouse, they could see a tiny light in the distance. They knew it was their daddy puffing on his cigarette and waiting for them by the back gate. My mother-in-law said that would make them feel so safe, to know their father was there waiting for them. I think that is the sweetest memory and speaks to me, and I hope my children, across time and space. A father's love and care--something we can all relate to and makes our ancestors real.
I hope you'll interview some of your older (or younger) friends and relatives--an aunt, uncle, older cousin, parent, grandparent, great aunt, or a friend from church or work. Just the asking of questions is important. It's great for the interviewer as well as the interviewee. And then repeat some of those stories to your children and grandchildren. It's all good!
And if you're writing your story or stories of your relatives, please share your ideas with me. I love to hear, and I promise to share in this blog.
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!