We need to take the time to record our own history or one day we will regret our inaction. At the very least not making some notes about important events in your life will eventually cause some frustration among those who come after you. We have become a society that does not like to write or read. Those precious letters that we wrote in our twenties and thirties might be the last letters of a generation. I am afraid to imagine the next generation trying to piece together family histories from whatever Facebook ends up doing with our time-lines and those tidbits of information that a few people Tweet. Certainly examining Pinterest collections is not going to reveal a lot about our lives. Thinking about how to make a history out of emails will only bring on a headache.
several years, I have been trying to create a few treasure troves of
information for later generations. I say “later” generations because it
seems to be hard for the next generation to get very excited about what
their parents or grandparents have done. They are too busy creating
their own memories. I just hope they are doing more than cellphone
videos on YouTube.
I managed a few years ago to grab some wonderful video memories from the many hours of home video that I took starting sometime around 1985 or 1986. I collected and edited the video until I got a DVD worth of home video snippets. One Christmas eight or nine years ago I gave each of our children one of the DVDs and kept a spare one or two for myself. Some family member in the future will be very happy to find my DVD.
I was also very fortunate to collect a few videos of my mother and her sister Molly. My mother died in 2004 at the age of 93 years and six months. I am tremendously pleased that I have my mother and her sister on a DVD. At some point our granddaughter will be able to watch her great grandmother. I actually think that is pretty neat. I cannot imagine how excited I would be to just hear the voices of any of my grandparents. They were all long gone by the time that I was born. There are barely a handful of pictures of three of the four of them.
While I have also been collecting photos over the years, I think it is very important to put photos into context. Last year I wrote a book, “The Pomme Company,” about my career at Apple. This year I wrote a book which is much more important to me personally. The book, “A Taste for the Wild, Canada’s Maritimes,” chronicles how I got from Harvard College to building a cattle operation in northern New Brunswick.
I have heard that certain parts of your life are more important in forming your character and even memories. I know that those sixteen years that I lived in Canada turned out to be very important in establishing my values and priorities. Certainly the book, “A Taste for the Wild, Canada’s Maritimes,” clearly provides some insight into my early, post-college life.
I have two more books to write that might be of use to future family members, one is almost one third done. The working title is “From Mayberry to Nova Scotia and Back.” The other one which will deal with our years on the farm does not have a title yet and might be very hard to write given that even I did not take great notes during those ten years. I was just too busy farming at the time and Glenda, my wife, was busy with our three children when she was not driving a tractor or truck for me.
History is a long term project so I am content to move forward with some other books for a while now that I have my recent book about Canada published. Sometimes you need a break from the past so I am starting to work on a 2013 update to our book, “ A Week at the Beach, An Emerald Isle, NC, Travel Guide.”Travel guides are a spring thing. Once that is finished I am planning a book of some of my favorite photographs of the Crystal Coast area with just enough commentary to provide some area information. I am hoping some special photos in an e-book will please those folks who keep asking me to publish some of my photos.
My mind will eventually get focused back on history. I am planning to take the new video camera that I got earlier this year and visit some older relatives. It is surprising how much five minutes of video is worth a few years down the road. It is very easy to record and edit video these days. Sometimes an amazing bit of information will slip out among the tales we have heard over and over. I sometimes wonder if what passes for communication in 2013 can ever be considered in the same breath as some of the wonderful oral stories that I have heard my elders recount over and over.
Hopefully my efforts with my family’s history will inspire some others to write down a few important things while those memories are still accessible. Once you start doing it, you quickly realize how important it is.