I have a passion for preserving family history. My fascination began when I was a child. I suppose it sprang from a family of storytellers. I enjoyed hearing my grandfather speak of growing up and of how he met my grandmother. One of the first stories I remember him telling is about dating my grandmother and what he said when he first saw her. After watching her walk by, he told a friend, “See that stout girl over there? I am going to marry her.” He meant those words as a compliment. I’m quite sure women today would not consider being called “stout” a compliment though.
My grandfather continued with his tale of how they rode on a buggy pulled by mules. He loved teasing my grandmother and he did so by repeating this particular story to most anyone who would listen. Often times he would embellish the story a bit just to get under her skin.
My father also was a storyteller. When I was still living at home as a young adult, sometimes his repetitiveness annoyed me. I could repeat some of them verbatim. Later, after I married and had a child of my own, his stories took on a different meaning. I soon realized the importance of preserving those stories. I learned sometimes looking back is sweeter than looking forward. Well, at least it is for awhile – especially the older we grow.
I also yearned to know more about my roots. My father’s stories became interesting; often Id ask him to repeat a particular one I recalled from his earlier storytelling. It was at this point I discovered I wanted to hear his stories over again.
I believe it is important for all of us to know who our families were, where they came from and what life was like for them. It helps us understand who we are and what makes us tick. Thats why I chose to preserve my family history.
There are several ways to preserve personal family history. Ill share a few next time.
Darlene Snyder is a part time freelance writer and photographer. She works fulltime in Madison District Court.
To read more of her writings or to see a sampling of her photography, visit www.darlenesnyder.com