When I was a kid, we always piled into the station wagon usually on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and went around to pay our respects to those who passed on before. Dad usually drove, Mom shotgun, and the rest of us piled in the seats along with the brightly colored wreaths, flowers and cooler for drinks and snacks. It was a somber kind of day, even if the sun was bright and the weather nice.
While we drove, the conversations slowly drifted from what was occurring now: baseball games, local events and school, to a history lesson about our family. I’m not a historian, nor am I actively interested in my family history at this time, although I might be sometime in the future, but looking at battered gravestones from before the Civil War, awakens a bit of curiosity as to who these people were and how they lived. A sense of loss is evoked when you read the engraved stones telling you an infant only lived a few days. You get a sense of pride when you are told this person served in the war and came home.
As a family, we spent several hours driving to out of the way cemeteries. Some were on family property and we followed a small dirt track to the graves. Others were newer, in well kept plots near towns. I could remember only some of the people who had been buried. Most I had no idea.
Family history disappears with every member that passes on. There are so many things that do not get written down that simply disappear. The color of Aunt Mable’s wedding dress might not be important but the two men she chose between might be an interesting story.
It hasn’t been until now that I realize how much of that history has already been lost. Yes you can go back and find death and birth certificates. You might even find deeds, titles, photos and marriage licences, but so much of the person is already gone. I realized this a few months ago when my son interviewed my grandparents.
So much is already gone but there is the chance to preserve what we have now.
Sorry I have not been posting. Computer still down and getting used to crazy schedule of 2 jobs. I hope by next week things will settle down.
Thanks for reading. 😀