Saturday, July 23, 2011


My great aunt is working on project now that she's retired.  The project?  Creating a family genealogy.  That side of the family migrated over from Norway, Sweden, Scandinavia, and it would be fascinating to have a record of that.  However, when asked about her project, she states that she wishes she had started it 30 years ago, when her mother was still alive and her mother's mother was still alive, when the older generations were around, and when those with the stories were still here to tell them.

My mother's great-grandmother had 10 kids.  Ten kids!  And one of them died the same day the family buried another kid.  And my grandmother and her sisters never asked about that.  They never asked about moving to America or raising a family of daughters.  They were never taught to ask.

And maybe it's natural not to ask.  Maybe you don't start to wonder about it until it's too late to ask.  After hearing about this, my brothers and I asked our grandparents about their lives, about how my grandmother was 16 when she got married, how my grandfather was drafted in 1952 and stationed in Germany, how my grandmother worked two jobs to earn enough money for a round-trip ticket to join him in Heidelberg for six months.

Our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents have had entire lives: stories, experiences, successes, failures, thoughts, ideas.  And they can share them.  All we need to do is ask.

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