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Author Topic: Your Heritage - Learn it from your elders while you can  (Read 2263 times)
Len Silva
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« on: September 30, 2011, 12:11:13 PM »

Moderators, I apologize in advance for posting this here, but please leave it for a couple of days.  When you move it, I would like to see it in Final Arrival, perhaps even as a sticky.

This is prompted by Paul's recent loss of his father and the memories he shared with us.

I was not so fortunate, dad and I didn't talk that much, particularly about his youth.

Now as I arrive at my late sixties and I am staring mortality in the face, I find a profound loss that I don't know more about my heritage.

My paternal grandparents were immigrants from the Azores, and I know so little of the struggles they faced, both in the old country and here in the late 1800's.

Now, the parents are gone, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, are all gone, and all that is left is Ancestry.com.

I find that the preponderance of folks on the genealogy websites are people like me, post retirement age, and now suddenly have an interest in where they came from.

So, for those of you in your thirties and forties, I beg of you, talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, about their lives when they were young, all the trials and joys they had. I know that you are really busy and it doesn't seem that important right now, but it really is. Get it on video and keep it safe.

I promise you, that when you get to be my age, it will be the greatest treasure you own.

Len
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rcbeam
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 01:17:55 PM »

So true Len... I am in my late 50's now and wish many times I had made the time in my earlier years to.  Very good advice.
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Russell
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2011, 02:23:24 PM »

Damn you Len, you are bringing mortality all too close.

My mother made my grandmother write down a short life history. A lot was about coming to America in steerage aboard a ship that left 4 hours before the Titanic. In those days, the White Star line, Cunnard and most others sold steerage tickets by volume. When the steerage bays were filled, they would load the extra passengers into the next ship to leave. Hmmm, 4 hours between my being here to bug everyone or being a rotted seed on the sea floor ... 11,000 feet down.

Now my wife is going through the end of life stages with her dad and soon, her mom. We don't know enough about their lives to say we really know them, maybe it's time to see if she can get some recordings or get them to do the same as my mom and grandma did.

Also... I'm 56, (I think), and maybe it's time that I, (and all of you who have children that might be interested), write out a short history of our lives for those who follow us. It doesn't have to be long, drawn out, or particularly interesting, it just needs to be the truth.

Thank you for bringing this subject up.

DF
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2011, 02:29:35 PM »

Len,
I am sorry to hear that you are in this situation.
And I have to thank my grandmother for insisting that us grand kids knew not only our heritage but at the time ALL living relatives.
And she'd not only have huge family get togethers @ her house or down at the landing of the lake bordering her property. But many times she'd load a bunch of us in her vehicle and we'd go to Paris to so & so's house or Milan to so & so's and Trezvant, McClemmore, and all over West TN. visiting relatives on both sides of my dads family.

My mom's parents also introduced us to the relatives on gramma's side and told us some of their history. My grandfather on mom's side had a sister who lived just across town from us and I spent more hrs listening to her ramble on than I care to remember. But I do have fond memories of Grandpa telling us of our Cherokee heritage in that his mother was 100% Cherokee and his father was a low down pale skin. (that was really about the kindest words he had about his father who evidently did not stick around a pregnant Indian woman carrying his child)

I took an early interest in our family history from this and studied both sides pretty extensively while still in school.
It was sort of funny when I got a call some years later from a historian trying to sell me details on my family heritage that she'd recently discovered while researching it for a cousin and I knew more about us than she was trying to sell us!
(I called the cousin and enlightened her too!)

Yes it is very important that children, adults and people of all ages learn their family heritage! Shoot who knows we may be related to some rich politician who might pay us to stay hidden!
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2011, 04:26:22 PM »

I bought hte history channel WW2 in Hd, gathered all the young ones of the family and we all met at my uncle's house.  We all watched it and he was able to show places he had been on Pelilue (SP).  He was able to show a corral formation he was hing behind as a Japanese sniper was shooting him in the arms as he could not hide his whole body.  I have been fortunate to hear a lot of his south Pacific beach landing stories.  I just could not stand the thought of him passing and the young ones not hearing like I was able to hear it.  He is a good man and spent a lifetime trying to fix what he lost on those beaches.  My folks died when I was pretty young and he managed to be a leading male role in my life.  I love him and wll never forget the different side of life he showed me.  He showed me this world is a tough place and if you want something, by God go work for it.  He made and spent 3 fortunes in his lifetime.  He took me to Vegas for my graduation present from high school.  That story is for when we meet in person and we have a cold one in our hands.  For now lets just say I had a damned good time with that old fella. 
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