After writing last week's Monday post, I kept thinking not only about my past, but also about the lives of my older relatives. My mother is in her nineties, and she talks about her childhood on a daily basis.
When my grandfather was alive, I tried to interview him. The whole idea didn't sit well, so I tried to listen for those important references. Another way to handle this curiosity is to view old pictures or ask what it was like in the old days.
First-hand accounts have an advantage over reading. There are opportunities to comment, ask questions, and empathize with your older relative. For me, an added benefit was the connection to my roots.
The stories we grew up with spurred several cousins to research the family tree. One found detailed information on the ship my grandfather arrived on from
The pictures and text made Grandpa's stories come alive.
As a writer, I'm thrilled to have expert witnesses of another time in history. Those who lived through the early twentieth century, the Great Depression, and World War II can offer insights in a unique and personal way.
All of these tales fill me with gratitude for God's hand on my family. To see how my ancestors arrived in this country, met their spouses, had children, met the Lord as their Savior, and how it eventually produced yours truly fascinates me.
Writers: Have you thought of your older relatives as experts on a particular time in history? Please share how their stories affect your writing.
Readers: How does reading about the past combined with the experiences of family members connect the dots for you? Does reading a World War II fiction or non-fiction book help you understand what they went through during that time?
Photo Credit: John Evans
I often think about what my ancestors' lives were like. I have some history of the family tree, but not as much as I'd like. I do know that a relative on my mom's side was injured in a Civil War battle not far from where I now live. He died from his injuries and is buried here in KY.
Hi Karen -
So many of the conveniences we take for granted, they didn't dream about. Many of them worked long hours at hard labor. I think researching our history can give us a deeper appreciation for our own lives.
I wish I'd jotted down more of the stories from my grandparents. For that matter, I should keep notes on my own history. :)
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