Also, we are sharing what we have learned and what we remember being told about the lives of our pioneer ancestors, the hardships they endured, the toil they put forth to help us to the point we are today. We are having verbal portraits painted for us of the personalities of people long gone, but who are still remembered by some of our family. Imagine being able to look at a photo of your great grandfather and knowing something of what he was like as a person, his gruffness, the twinkle in his eye, his accented English, his fervent work ethic to his final days. Imagine being a person three or four generations from now and looking at that same photo and being able to know those same things about him! Knowing what my 6th great grandfather was like is a treasure I wish someone had left me! You can bet that someone down the path in life is going to breath a prayer of thanks when they discover the treasure we have left them.
An Urgency to Your Work
One of the main reasons that I will probably never know about my 6th great grandfather's personality is that no one had the time or took the time to preserve stories and items that would have told us about him. The same applies to our times today. If no one takes the time to gather and preserve the stories and descriptions that our family members have to tell us, we (and the family coming after us) will never have that information. It will be lost forever. It is important that a family as a whole recognizes the importance of the stories that their elders have to tell them, and systematically gather those stories for posterity.
An uncle of mine told us in fantastic detail about his experience serving in Africa and the Pacific in the Australian army during World War II. I included his stories in several issues of our newsletter. I called him a few days before he was to have surgery to wish him well and mentioned to him that it would be wonderful if we could expand on some of those stories. We made plans to do just that, and ended the conversation. A few days later, I received word that he had died on the operating table. Remember that a way of honoring the memory of your loved ones is to preserve their memories. But do it soon--they could be gone tomorrow and their stories will be gone forever.