Wednesday, April 29, 2015
the family historian
Here he is with his grandkids, my second cousins. Uncle Bradley is my mother's brother.
Uncle Bradley told me about growing up dirt poor in Jackson County, Tennessee and working in the fields for 12 hours for 50 cents a day. He told me about meeting his wife when she was 12 years old and knowing she was the one. He told me about the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed and he was driving a city bus in Washington, DC and 500 people filled the streets to protest (not riot) and stopped his bus, shaking it and scaring all the people inside. He finally broke free of the crowd, left the bus and a man put a gun to his head. I will definitely be documenting that and I will listen back to the recording to get the story.
While I was talking to him, I noticed that no one else in my family seems to feel the weight of responsibility that I feel to get these stories written down. I am fascinated by the history of my family. I want to know all the details. I loved hearing how Uncle Bradley made $35 a week on his first job when he was married and how he left there and got a raise of $80 a week to work at DuPont and no one believed he would really make that much. I never knew he worked at DuPont, where my Dad worked for 28 years. I loved hearing how he and his wife moved from the hills of Tennessee to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, simply because the weather was nice (he still lives there). It was all very fascinating and thought provoking.
Although I don't have time to take on a new project, I've decided my summer project this year will be to take on the job of Family Historian. My aunts and uncles are all getting so old it scares me. I'm taking my laptop and scanner around to all their houses and scanning photos and typing up stories and interviewing them. The only way I will get it done is to put one day a month on my calendar, starting in May. So if I interview one person in May, June, July and August, surely I can gather the stories I need to tell our history in a detailed way.
Do any of you feel the burden of responsibility for this? I WILL make this a priority this year. It's time to be a grown up and do the right thing, for posterity's sake. Who else thinks about this stuff? Please tell me I'm not the only one!
PS: To the blogger who goes by the name Granny Jenny and left me a comment on a page here, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I couldn't find a way to contact you! The answer is yes, there is an oil for that. :)