Monday, July 18, 2011

The Past

I've been thinking a lot about the past again. My family's past, specifically, as I've been making friends with my grandmother's "Heritage Scrapbook".

There is an entry in my journal that sums up the emotions I've been feeling lately, so I'm posting it, with a couple revisions and clarifications. (This entry was written last September when we were in KY for the first time in forever, to go to the Creation Museum and visit family also since a lot of my father's family comes from there.)

"We are in Kentucky. [...] We went to the annual [family] reunion. The highlight of this was seeing great-aunt D- (my grandfather's oldest sister). We set on her porch for a while, the porch of the house her (late) husband built! (Though, as she said, there have been improvements made.)
And as I sat there on the porch swing, I started thinking about old people & how many stories & memories they have & how they are our tie with the past. And once they die all their stories & memories die with them. One more tie with the past is severed.
It makes me wish I could just spend time with people like Aunt D- & my grandparents & ask them to tell me stories of their life.
Where are we without the past? I say I hate history [as a subject in school] - I don't. I hate textbook history. I don't just want to know about impersonal, large battles. I don't want to know about dreams of the nation. I want to know about the individual battles of every day. I want to know the personal dreams that the generations before me held. I don't want to lose our connection with them."

Does anyone else ever feel that way? It makes me wish I had a stronger inclination to be a biographer or something. Now I always make sure to pay close attention when my grandparents start telling a story. I don't think I remember often enough how blessed I am to still have all my grandparents alive.

As I mentioned, I've been looking a lot at my (maternal) grandmother's "Heritage Scrapbook" lately. My brothers and I spent the night at her and my grandfather's house yesterday because my parents and older sister were both gone. I adopted the scrapbook for the night so I could spend more time with it, hehe. I took some pictures of some of the photos and thought I'd share a few. (Sorry the quality isn't the greatest.)

This is my favourite picture in the album. It's my great-grandmother (or my mother's mother's mother :P) in the 1920's when she was dating my great-grandfather (the man next to her, obviously). The funny thing is, nobody remembers who the little girl on the right is. My grandmother asked my great-grandmother when she was still alive and she didn't remember either.
Still, I love this picture; it just screams 1920's and I love that era.

This is my great-grandfather's family. Yep, he had 11 siblings. I'm not sure when it's from... late 1910's or 1920's is my guess. He's in the back row, in the middle (he's the same fellow in the picture above).

And this is a picture of my grandmother and grandfather in the 1950's before they were married!

They were so cute. :)

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a lovely summer and has a great new week!


  1. These are amazing photos. I too love the 20s and that photo is just priceless. Paying attention seems to be a writer's trait. Memory can only go so far so I started asking questions everytime my mom retells me one of her "old" stories.:)

  2. I can really relate to your thoughts about wanting to keep the past safe and remembered; there is something very valuable in this. It reminds me to pay attention to stories, enough to be able to retell them. :) :) Love the photos.

  3. Oh, I love those photos! I love the 1920's, too.

    As for the feeling of wanting to know about personal history and feeling that many stories are being lost, I thought I would reference the quote in your sidebar: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'

    For the longest time, I've thought in history class, 'I'm not interested in the battles and politics; I'd rather read about how the people lived.' It also makes me a bit sad to think that people who lived in the Middle Ages or the Georgian period (for example) aren't alive anymore, as I would have loved to listen to their stories, too.

  4. These pictures gave me goosebumps. I keep an old photograph of lolo when he was kid in my wallet, wrapped in his last letter signed on year 1997. I always knew I have a soft heart and longing for the past. Anybody's, somebody's past, because I know mine is not at all worth looking back.

    My grandmother loves telling stories about her and lolo (my late grandpa)... you know that feeling when you look at her eyes and you see that passion, that emotion that makes your heart soften and makes you wanna tear up? I know you know that, I know you understand. :)

    "And once they die all their stories & memories die with them." ~ not until they still have someone who shared those memories with... they will always be remembered.

    I'm so sorry for this is long. I'm just so attached with this kind of things and also, I thing I have an old heart. I love you, and I always love how your writings touch my soul all the time.

  5. Shopgirl: They are priceless, indeed! I'm happy I finally saw them, I don't know why I hadn't before.
    Oh yes, I've started asking questions as well! :)

    Jade: I'm quite happy to learn you and others feel similarly! It is so terribly valuable.
    I'm glad you like the photos! They just had to be shared. :)

    Lumina: *gasp* This means a friendship has been born! :) That's so cool you feel that way too. I also feel sad that there are all these times now that no one from is alive anymore. Those scientists need to get cracking on a time machine! :P

    haze: Aww, that's so sweet! Maybe someday someone will be interested in your past, though! It feels sort of strange to think that... but it's not implausible!

    Oh yes, oh yes! I do indeed understand that feeling!

    Exactly! That's why we need to stay around so we can listen and remember. :)

    Don't apologize for long comments - I adore them! I have an old heart too. Your words are pure sunshine to me. I love you so much. <3

  6. My grandmother used to tell us about her childhood as a bedtime story, (it is funny actually that she told the stories when we were little because they did include the war, being sent away from home and illness) but I loved those stories. I wish I could know more about my family's past, I know there are lot of secrets hidden there and I would love to unravel them :)

  7. That is such a dear memory! It's funny how we never really think about those things when we're kids, we don't care as long as it's a good story!
    Same here! I don't know if we have any secrets but, who knows; we just might! And I would love to be the one to discover them. :)

  8. These photos are wonderful.
    A 'heritage scrapbook' is such a wonderful thing to have.
    I do not care for facts of the past, for dates nor days. Instead I care for toils and strife, for love and heartbreak, the stories of the numbers that once were individuals. I have little interest in the retelling of these stories, for they are changing, ambiguous, and impersonal. Memories of people are more than just words that can be written down and retold for the generations to come, they are interwoven with personality - twitches and smiles, nods and sighs. So much more than words and numbers.

  9. Heather: It is, I am so glad both my grandmother and mother have a passion for scrapbooking.
    Oh, yes! I so agree with your lovely thoughts. Cold, hard facts in ink on a page are so worthless to me.

    P.s. I am Me: Oh, good. I hope you continue to be okay, dear! (Though sometimes, not being okay is fine too. Not to mention natural and a tad bit inevitable. Pardon, I ramble!) <3

  10. I can't tell you how lucky you are to be able to be in such old houses with such old artifacts. I always think of such things, as if I'm stuck in a past which doesn't belong to me. I love hearing stories from grandparents and looking through old photographs, I have found a few gems, perhaps I shall post them one day. I have recently developed a hunger to know more about my roots, I think all the way back to medievil times and wonder where I came from and the stories of my ancestors. Lovely post dearest!

    xx and hugs


  11. Wooooooow, I love these pictures! I too love the 1920's - the fashions were just amazing, and in my extremely naive mind, I like to contruct stories of a more peaceful, dreamy version of that time.

    Yesh, I hate textbook history too. And even wrose - I don't like watching the history channel. I feel like they always have the same shows on, and instead of focusing on touching, everyday life stories, they just make shows about how the world is going end. Bleh. I really enjoy reading biographies, though I confess that I don't do it often. And usually the bios are about poets and writers, haha. Recently, I've read bios on Keats and Sara Teasdale, and both were so delightful that I gathered a bunch of quotes and felt like I knew them. And I felt sad that I wasn't born in a time to enjoy knowing them, you know? Bios always give me a bittersweet feeling, haha.

  12. Jhordyn Ashley: Often I don't think I appreciate it nearly enough; it's good to be reminded!
    I would love to hear/see anything of what you've found! Wouldn't it be absolutely amazing if we could trace our roots that far back and in great depth? I repeat my request for a time machine!
    Thank you, dear. <3

    CloudyKim: I'm so glad you like them so much! I put the 1920's in an idyllic light as well. :)

    I don't even think I've ever tried seriously watching the history channel... Well, besides 10 second snippets which obviously didn't interest me enough to watch more.
    I've just gotten into reading biographies! I've read them before but now I'm obsessively looking up people to see if there are any biographies on them! I totally get that bittersweet feeling too and also how they become friends. (And Sara Teasdale is on of my favourite poets! I would like to "know" her better but my library doesn't have a bio on her. Hmph.)

  13. Hi, here is a link to my new wordpress blog! :)

  14. Ooh! Nifty. Thanks for letting me know. :)


Silhouettes of a secret. A story told over a cuppa. Or perhaps just sitting on that stone bench, basking in the moonlight... and not saying anything at all.

("I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks." -Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)