If you were gone tomorrow, what would you want others to know about you and the life you've lived?
It's a powerful question, isn't it? It's the one posed by Ali in her first Yesterday & Today class, and while her focus is to encourage scrapbookers to create pages that answer that question, the query reaches well beyond that small group. What if this homework assignment was made to the world at large and everyone recorded their response. We'd all be given an amazing insight into those we love.
Maybe I'd learn something about my mother's childhood. There aren't many photos of her in her youth but in the few we have, she's so somber and serious. I don't remember her telling us many stories about what her life was like growing up so I've always wondered if she saw those years as a happy time in her life.
And I'd love to know how my Grandma Hedrick would have answered such a question. She traveled to Oklahoma in a covered wagon, and when it took longer than expected, they sold belongings along the way to raise funds for food. I didn't know that when she was alive...nor did I know she'd won blue ribbons at the fair for her baking. Would she record these events in her list?
It wasn't until I sat with my dad going through a box of old photos that I learned he was one of only a handful of servicemen selected for the Army bowling team during his service years. You could hear in his voice the pride he still felt as he told me about it that day, and I knew it was a happy accident that I was able to hear that story. How many more would he have that I haven't heard?
We all think our lives are ordinary, that there is nothing special about our stories. But the truth is they are very special to those who come after us. While we've known our parents and grandparents all of our lives, we haven't known them all of theirlives so their accomplishments and experiences are a mystery...and an even greater one if you go back more than two generations. Sometimes the simplest details, like everyday life in a bygone time, are fascinating when compared to today's standards. I remember reading of a female ancestor who walked for mile to the shore everyday to fill her apron with rocks and bring them back to her homesite. It took months for her to gather enough to build an oven to bake her bread. Special, indeed.
So I'm pondering my assignment...looking back over my path through life in the time I've been on this earth and trying to decide what stories I should be recording. What about you? What stories would you want others to know and what are you doing about seeing that they survive you?