Friday, January 14, 2011

Regrets for Lost Memories

The four hours of stories and reminiscences that my mother recorded onto audiocassettes in 2003 are a treasure of our family collection.  My sister Jamie’s foresight in organizing this project can’t be underestimated.  However, I will share her regrets in the hopes that they might inspire others to go even further in capturing their family’s histories while there’s still time.

Jamie’s original intention was to preserve the old family stories.  When Mom initially made recordings that concentrated on her youth and courtship, Jamie redirected her toward the older stories that she had heard growing up.  While we do have some very good reminiscences of her early years, the tapes shift to an emphasis on the old Virginia stories when Jamie is assisting.  Jamie and I love these stories, but now we regret that there isn’t more personal detail from her own life.

Jamie regrets not doing this with our father, too.

As I work on the June and Art blog, I become increasingly aware of the gaps in the descriptions of everyday life.  People take pictures of the big events and
the red letter days – we have hundreds of pictures of vacations, weddings, and birthdays.  But we have so few pictures of the kitchen,
the family room, the bedrooms, the basement, and the back yard.  These are the places that we take for granted.  It’s as if we think
they’ll always be there and always be the same.  So I’ll add this to the list of our oral history regrets:  I wish that there was more on everyday life back in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, when my mother was a child, a teenager, and a young woman.

© 2010 Lee Price

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