Monday, December 19, 2011

Save Your Memories While They are Still Alive

Do you find yourself missing certain family members around the holidays?  Re-telling Grandpa's stories but apologizing - "I wish you had heard him tell that story, he did it so much better."?  Finding yourself telling the younger generation things about people that they never knew, but were an integral part of your life?

I know I do.

I have hit the place in my life where I am either the second or the first generation in my family.  I used to be one of those who sat at the kids' table - you know the one I mean.  The wobbly card table way at the end of the dining room table with both leaves in it, the kitchen table added to that, and then one or more card tables to get all of the kids at a table.  Or else I was one of the kids who knelt on the floor to eat my dinner, using the piano bench as a table.

We sat down there at the foot of the family, semi-listening to the grown-ups' talk, eating Aunt Blanche's Cherry Delight before we ate anything else, and pegging dinner rolls and olives at each other.

Today I sit at either the kitchen or the dining room table.

My dad's parents have passed on, as has my dad and all of his sisters and brothers.  That makes my generation the old folks.  Fortunately, Dad was the next-to-youngest, so my cousins are 10 - 15 years older than I am, so I am not the matriarch of the family!  And Mom's parents have also passed away, but Mom, Aunt Mildred, and Uncle Bill are still here, so I would probably be at the kitchen table.

Why do I mention this?

Two reasons.

The first is to give you a little tantalizing teaser about a new venture that Heritage and Family is about to embark upon.  I may even have a short video clip to show you in a couple more days.  This idea came about as the result of my own longing for the words and songs and stories of my family that have been lost.  My dad wrote a song for me when I was born, and I know all the words, I have a 3x5 card in his handwriting with the melody written on it, but I don't have his voice singing it for me.

I don't have Grandpa telling stories about his days running a steam shovel, nor Grandma James telling about life on "the farm".

So I have embarked on an outgrowth of the family history in the written form to family history on film.  Sort of an opportunity to ave your memories in advance.

Check back here in a few days to see more about it.  I'm pretty excited about it.

But there is a second reason that I bring this up.

It's almost Christmas.  A time when we get together with our families.  And a great opportunity to save some of those future memories.

So this year, drag out the video camera, or make sure you have your charger for your cell phone, and point that baby at someone and ask a question.

"How did you and Grandma meet?"

"Why does everyone call you 'Marie' when your name is Jeannie?"

"Tell that joke about the rattlesnake and the guy with the booze."

Then download them, save them, give them to your family, and plan to do this again next time.

You won't regret the time and effort it takes.

I promise.

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