Sometimes, just for the pleasure of it, I re-read one of Emily Carr’s short autobiographical pieces. Some are stories and some just snippets of memory but all are full of the flavour of life in Victoria over 100 years ago.
“Small” she calls herself, living with one younger brother and older sisters “Bigger” and “Elder” in a household dominated by a stern Victorian father. Small loved animals, Bigger loved children but Elder was religious and righteous and therefore quite difficult to have as an older sister.
Why should I care? These people are long dead and have no connection to me. Ah, but they do have a connection. The connection is the stories woven by Emily Carr. They are simple, with concrete words and short sentences. A child could easily read them. But they are the gift of times past to anyone who takes the time to follow them. How much more important are YOUR stories of your OWN family!
You could give that gift to future generations. “But they won’t care,” you say. “Anyway, they know all about me. My life’s not that interesting.”
Think of your grandmother. Do you know all about her? Which was her favourite dress? Her favourite song? How well did she like her sisters when they were girls? Which neighbours did she play with? Can you answer those questions? Has she left your her memoirs? What about your grandchildren? Will they know about your first puppy when you were eight years old? Or how you felt when your baby brother was born?
I am the only person in my family who remembers my grandparents Joseph and Rose Hannah Shaw. If I don’t write down what I recall of them my children and their children will never know that information. Maybe they don’t care right now. But they will care at some point and if I don’t write about it they will never have access to that information. I am the gatekeeper of my family’s history.
You are the gatekeeper of your family’s history, but also of your own personal history. Do you children and grandchildren know how you and your spouse met? Why you chose that location for your wedding? I would love to know why my mother snubbed her only niece, not allowing her to be bridesmaid at her wedding. It’s questions like these that future generations will ask. Don’t leave it any longer to ask your questions, investigate and record your knowledge for your family years into the future.
The time to start writing your own memories and recollections of family history is NOW! Become the family historian; the go-to person for family lore and knowledge.
Good hunting. Enjoy the tales you discover. And have fun!