Monday, July 6, 2009

Memory Monday- Remember the Time


I am a student of genealogy and history, particularly Black history. In the process of attempting to trace and study the life of my ancestors, I also am writing my own personal history. As Howard Edwards, president of the African American Genealogy Society of Northern California, of which I am a member and board member, says that in the process of writing our family history, we should write our own stories. I have been writing my stories for years. These stories, I hope, will be handed down to my descendants and other family members.

Writing about your own life is an interesting, tricky, delicate job. Memory can be fleeting and capricious. Trying to regain one’s earliest memory is easier for some than others. My earliest memories go back to the time I must have been three or four and my paternal grandmother had died. I remember seeing my father kneeling on my parents bed crying. I was strange for me to see my big, strong daddy crying and I reacted by laughing. My mother pulled me aside and said Grandmother Florence had gone to heaven. Another strong memory was being in kindergarten and there was an earthquake, and all the children were told to go under the desks. I remember the desks shaking and not being afraid but thinking, this was an adventure.

As I said, memory can be tricky, especially particular incidents from your childhood. You can remember something happening and a sibling’s remembrance of the same incident can be interpreted differently. For instance my sister remembers an incident with her and our brother from Jr. high school, that he remembers completely different. All in all though, writing our own personal stories is something that should be a common practice. Leaving a record is a gift to your children and extended family that cannot be matched.

6 comments:

Angelia... said...

Dera,
I totally agree with you about writing our stories and how they are remembered...there are stories I relay to my sister and her interpretation is totally different, that is why we should all write what WE know....great topic...

Blessings!
angelia

Beverly said...

Dera -
I love hearing about your family stories. We have such a rich legacy to leave behind so that the world can be informed that we are more that the stats in the news.
Yes, it is amusing when my sister, mother and I have different versions of the same story which cause my BIL to say - he knew we were all crazy.

Yasmin said...

Nice blog and you and Raven are on the same wavelenght this week. :)

Ladysilver said...

I wish I had thought to take note of some of the stories told to me by my grandfather. Most of the elders in my family are gone and the ones that are left don't talk. My sister and mother always remember me being more over the op than I remember. I need to start collecting our stories for our kids to have to look back on.

Dera Williams said...

Lashonda, don't worry about the past. Just start collecting the stories now.

Phyllis said...

Hey Dera -- Great post! You've motivated me again to touch up on my genealogical research and documentation!