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Keeper of History - Our Family Stories


One of the things I loved about growing up was the public library. I spent a lot of time there. I remember my mom taking us there as kids, and it was close by so we walked. I also recall those elementary school field trips destination – The Public Library. Not to go off-topic, but I also remember when the local library got their first xerox machine, the copies were a nickel, and one of my classmates placed her face on the machine, and you guessed it, she made a copy of her face. I remember her name, but I will not share that information here, and I pray she is doing well and still has her sense of humor. It was too funny!! I laugh every time I think about it. Awesome memories. I am just trying to make sure I think of things that are good in these crazy sociopolitical times, and that is one memory that comes up.


As someone who loves to read about other people’s life journeys and to listen to family stories, I think it is vital that we write about our family history. It does not have to be as extensive as Alex Haley’s Roots, but it can be your reflections about people, places, and things. The memory of time spent with your grandparents, aunts, cousins, and all the fictive kinfolks, from the village. Oral tradition is great, but we need to write those things down, not just for the next generation but the generations after that. If it seems daunting get some help, have family members share memories with you. Technology is a great resource, our phones can record the stories, and you can transcribe them later. Better yet, encourage other writers in the family to contribute to your family history project.


If you belong to a family that has completed their genealogy, you have another place to start. If it is possible, you can gather stories to add context to the family tree. Nothing like a family flowchart, and you have to infer what life was like from the historical context of the time, not family narrative. Add to the picture with family stories told by members of the family.


We have to make time to reflect and write about our family's journey. This is an investment in our historical legacy as a community. Lord forbid we leave this world for the next with the media representations of our community as the only record of our existence.


I challenge you to write the history of your family today.

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