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Never Forgotten: My Promise to Those Who Came Before Me, #TGIF #FTSF

I write about my family often.

With stories of

Bloodroots and Blood Ties,

I discovered there was such thing as a bloodroot, on one particular family hike in April.

Had you ever heard of such a thing?

I think it is a wonderful metaphor, as far as the natural world, as we are all connected, to it, and to each other.

Roots go deep and this week’s Finish the Sentence Friday is a deep one, with Kristi of

Finding Ninee

As for my own family story, I’ve discussed things like

Milestones and Siblings

and also

The Ties That Bind

ties, blood, roots are all common themes in my writing, as you can see.

Long ago, my family came to Canada, from living in Europe. I really don’t know that far back, especially on my mother’s side. They’ve been here longer.

It all seemed so far back in time that I didn’t know how to reach it, which has left me focused more on the events of the 20th century and the two world wars that have left their mark on the 1900s.

My father’s parents lived through World War II. My father’s mother spoke of those years often, and her childhood that proceeded them. Her thick accent and often mixed up German/English made it hard to follow a lot of the things she’d say. I would listen, focusing hard, banking on my sharp memory to be able to recall the stories and the details later on.

This was a mistake. I was only just beginning with writing back then, as an interest, and (like a person not wanting to miss something in the moment, who does not take a photo to capture the memory) I did not write down what she spoke about, as she spoke it.

There are a few occasions where my brother recorded my grandfather and his marvellous storytelling abilities. He grew up on a farm, in a small, close community. His stories, though life was likely hard in ways I can’t really understand now, his anecdotes are mostly humorous in nature, silly schoolboy pranks or things he and his brother and sister got up to.

I have plans to go back and listen to his recorded stories, to see how many I could now get down in written form, in the hopes of possibly, one day, writing a short book of his adventures. This, along with my grandmother’s diaries (which I’ve spoken of here often) are things that tie me to their lives, even now and that helps me feel closer to them, even though they are gone.

That’s how stories have made it this far, through generations, even as I sometimes doubt my plan, worrying that I am telling things someone may not have wanted. The last thing I would ever wish to do would be to misrepresent another’s words or life in any way.

I think about what my grandparents did to get through those tough years, war and hunger and fear, and I want to honour that somehow. My plans for that would be to try and write a fictional story, a novel, loosely based on their lives and that time in history. I have not figured out how to go about that yet. It seems like such a daunting project.

Then I watch documentaries and read about World War I and I wondered why I was so obsessed with that war too. I’ve decided that I can’t help imagining what my great grandparent’s lives must have been like during that time period. I know so little. I want to know so much, much much more.

When it comes to my roots I am spellbound, mesmerized, haunted by thoughts of what once was, as a direct result of where I am now, at this exact moment in time and where it is I’m going. I would not be here if it hadn’t been for them, for all of them. I just don’t want them to be forgotten, as I don’t want to be forgotten a century from now.

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3 thoughts on “Never Forgotten: My Promise to Those Who Came Before Me, #TGIF #FTSF

  1. What a wonderful goal to write a story based loosely on your grandparent’s lives. It does seem daunting for sure but even if you just did an hour a week – it’d be such fun to further review that time. My dad’s brother made a bunch of recordings of my grandfather before he died and now I need to ask where they are because I’d forgotten all about them until reading this now. Thanks for the reminder. And for joining up with FTSF.

  2. Oh, wow Kerry. I am amazed to read this because of so many ways that it echoes my experience. Your regrets regarding not writing down your grandmother’s stories are how I feel that I didn’t get my dad’s story all down before he died. We were working on it, and we knew the end was near but it came far sooner than we expected. He was in WWII too, and his stories were amazing (once I started paying attention – I wasn’t too interested when I was young.) I also plan to write a fictional version of his life at that time and have started it.
    Maybe we can encourage each other with our books!

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