Recording cherished memories
At the end of it, this blog is about writing. How we write, why we write, and how to get what we write published. Sometimes it’s more personal.
Today is a more personal day.
As I write this, I’m returning home from my parents’ 50th anniversary party, held in upstate New York. This is the third time we’ve had a milestone anniversary party for them, following the 40th anniversary party ten years ago, and the 25th anniversary party in 1988.
My sister takes tons of pictures and as part of the decorations for the party, she dug out pictures from both of the previous parties. As you looked back at the pictures, many of the people who attended showed up in both sets of previous pictures, but not everyone. For instance, my wife wasn’t around for the 25th anniversary because I hadn’t met her yet. My kids weren’t there, either, for the same reason.
But my grandmother and my father’s brother were at the 25th anniversary, and my father’s sister and some close family friends were at the 40th anniversary. They’re no longer with us, but the pictures helped us remember their presence at this year’s party.
A lot of what we writers write is fiction or non-fiction, primarily about other people. Like the shoemakers’ children, our own world is sometimes forgotten under all the other writing. The sterling perfect sunshine we enjoyed yesterday will fade into history along with most of the memories of what happened, who showed up, and how good and plentiful the food was.
I’d love to make a commitment to be more attentive to pouring some of my talent into creating a lasting record for the family to hold onto over the coming years as even more beloved friends and family members (along with a lot of hair) disappears over the coming years. I should be more attentive to that. Once those memories vanish, they never come back. And if I write about the boring everyday–along with the periodic big events–I’ll leave a gift for people I won’t meet, who will carry in them part of my blood, genes, and what I am as a person.
I should do that.
I hope I make time for it.
But I probably won’t. Just working on my work-in-progress is hard enough.
How about you? Are you recording the family history? If not, does it feel like something you should do?