Sharing Oral History Brings The Family Together
I have to say I have been amazingly blessed to have had a wealth of information provided to me by mom regarding my family history. The stories she has shared, the names, places and tiniest little facts has allowed me to travel back in time and visit faraway places from the comfort of my home. One of the stories my mother shared with me I talked about on an earlier blog post called Thankful Thursday: Thank Goodness For The Kindness of Strangers --Part One. Here's a portion of it:
A couple of years ago, my mother told me a story of one time when she was a teenager she made a trip to Morehead City with her mother and while there, they took a ride in the country. Now I know my mother and we have a similar sense of humor. I know when she was riding in that car she was probably thinking to herself, "Um, How much more country are we talking about here?" My mother was visiting from New York so Morehead City was looking country enough for her. Ha. Anyway, she recalled they were driving out in the woods for quite a ways and finally came to this place where two sisters lived. To her they looked "Indian" or something. They were fair skinned with freckles and with long reddish brown hair. She remembered they were petite. They were referred to as some of her "grandmother's people." She's carried this memory with her all these years and wasn't sure who they were.
Now when my mother shared with me this story, I instantly wanted to see if I could figure out who these ladies were. They were kin and their names should be known I felt. Having their names known to me, would mean it was real, not some sort of fairy tale or myth. Another one of the blessings I have received from researching my family history and from blogging is that I was able to figure out who these women were and even better I was able to share that with my mom. The thing that made me the happiest from this whole experience was seeing the look of validation from my her. She finally got to know who these folks were. Her memory was a concrete thing that actually happened and now by having these facts it wasn't going anywhere.
Oral history is what keeps our family chain connected. Stories, thoughts, and feelings from the past shared in the here and now, forever bind the past with the present. It is our job, as the storyteller, the family historian, or the keeper of the word to pass this on to the next generation.
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