Amazing Harpist Bridget Kibbey: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

ckkatz1/15/2020 10:32:42 pm PST

I brought this over from the earlier thread because I agree that it is very important.

Back in the 1970’s my mother compiled a family history of her side. She passed away 25 years ago, and I still get requests for it. Sadly, it desperately needs updating. So I guess that I am guilty of this as well.

Often the stories of family members are forgotten as time rolls on. Additionally, many families have stories that illustrate family values.

Herodotus noted that the line between memory and myth is when the last person who knew someone, and could give testimony for them, passes away themselves. The Classical Age Greeks worried about who would remember them and protect their name when they died and could no longer protect it themselves.

There are lines from a song about a World War 1 gravestone that poignantly make this point:

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind,
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined,
And though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart you’re forever nineteen.
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some old glass pane,
In an old photograph torn, tattered, and stained,
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

re: #353 CleverToad

I’ve been thinking a lot about you, HW-that-was, in this season of unwelcome changes for you. About your love of family, for your grandmother and your niece, your fascination with family history and the stories of the past. You are a link — perhaps one of the things you might do is to make a record of your place in the chain. Write down the stories your elders told you: the story itself as you remember hearing it; your memories of hearing the story told, your memories of the person telling it. Doesn’t have to be polished or perfect, just get it on record, be it paper or pixels. You can go back and add notes about things you learn from other family members or in your research that add context to the events. Get it all down somewhere — others in the family might know the stories, but no one else has your memories or feelings about it. If you are comfortable recording yourself, you could do some of it that way; maybe get your parents to sit down and tell their stories with a videocamera running while they’re still here to ask.

Then tell the stories to your niece and others of her generation. She can go back and look at the written record later too, but she’ll have the memory of hearing it from you to strengthen the link.

You can keep adding over the years, but preserve what you know now because memory fades. That’s what I’m dealing with now, trying to remember things my mother told me, my grandmother told me. Wishing I’d made a lot of notes over these last four years while I was home with her, because she talked a lot about the past and I’m struggling to remember the details. All of us kids are in our 60’s now and senioritis is setting in. We have some cassette tape recordings of our grandmother talking that I need to get digitized, just hoping the tape will still play. We have several videos of my mom talking that we need to pull together and pass out copies. Hoping to get things to where her grandkids can go back and look at things in the future.

Family matters so much to you. Hope that — along with baseball and lit and music and travel — helps you along in this tough stretch of the trail.