A statement I uttered while on the phone with my cousin last weekend, while I was trying to find out my maternal grandfather's parents name: "It is questions like this that we really should have asked when the people who knew the answers were still with us."
My daughter was finishing up a Genealogy project she was doing for school. I called 3 different family members, and no one knew my grandfather's parent's names. My great grandparents names were lost.
How quickly our lives are forgotten, how quickly our names are no longer important.
My maternal grandparents both passed away before I was born, and for some reason they were not talked about much. They both passed away by the time they were in their early 60's, and each one experienced a difficult health issue before their death. What we heard most about them is their suffering at the end of their lives.
There were some great accomplishments my grandfather achieved, we know a few tidbits. (in the pic above he is receiving an award - he is on the right) But, what stories are there of their younger, happy days? Just a few photos with dates on the back, like this photo, either just before or just after their marriage in 1931.
At least we had some photos. I love the old photos, but the stories to go along with them are even better. This photo, below, was found in a dresser, no date, no name, just the photo in the drawer. It is my grandmother, when she was young and healthy, but where was she and when was this? We will never know.
Why didn't we ask questions when my mother was alive? Why didn't we ask when the people who knew the answers were still with us? Ah, hindsight IS 20/20 they say. Shoulda coulda woulda doesn't get you what you want.
I DO know that my mother and her sister used to like to play in a cemetery. It was always a funny story my mother liked to tell. They lived next door to a cemetery, and would go over to it to enjoy all the space, and run around and play in it. I remember thinking when I was little that this was crazy, and brave! I believe the cemetery is behind them in this photo, behind the tall metal fence. At least one fun story can be passed down.
So ask now, tell now. It is important to tell those you love while they can still hear you, and you can still tell.
What is a favorite family story of yours?