Friday, July 11, 2014

This is My Story…And I'm Sticking to It!

Every writer can point to a time when he or she remembered wanting to "say" something, so they began the process of writing it down. Some wrote and took it to publication. Some wrote and wrote and just kept it to themselves. I had a journal I kept all through junior high and high school that I burned just before I went off to college. I needed to do that, but sometimes I wish I'd kept it--in a locked box somewhere to come out when I was dead. 

I have been going through old boxes of photos and mementos. I've always been  a writer and wrote all sorts of things. I also loved making cards. When my first son was born, I found this Grandmother memoirs book I gave to my mother to fill out. She filled out very few places in it! I was appalled. I had wanted her to share things with us--with my sons. She didn't do it. I know she wrote letters but I have none of those, except for a few she wrote to me in college. She was a reserved and private person and really didn't like writing, I think. She did take photos, and she took a lot of home movies (my brother took those and didn't share them.) So there you have it. 

I've tried filling in some of that book now, just to try and remember the things she said over the years. It is awful to think we lose so many family memories because of stubbornness, pride and frankly, just not wanting to take the time. I have been compiling tons of information, and realized that no one wants to contribute in our family. I've had a couple ask me for my information, but not give me any photos or information in return. It's frustrating to me.

For whom am I cataloguing all of it? I decided today that I'm doing it for ME. I'm the one who loves it, who thinks it is worth saving and for whom delights in the photos and information. So few when you share the information even say "thank you" for sharing that. (One did and I was delighted to share with him.) I've come across some in our family tree wanting information from my tree and we've done exchanges. I have ONE cousin who sent me pages of information and photos. That was awesome. I've heard of this cousin but have never met him. (He was in my mother's older family of half-siblings.) 

Because I was in the mind of a writer, I saved tons of family photos and memories and stories. But who do I share them with? I'm a writer and have a need to share my writing and stories somewhere! And I have a blog. Should I turn some of it into fiction? That was my desire early on. But at this time of my life, I have more of a need to say something about the times and people who went before me. I don't care for details so much as the story that was shared. Plus, many people forget the details and some remember it differently than I do. My memory is valid. I have a right to my own reflections and stories and memories. 

My husband (The Irate Overlord) and I had a conversation/debate recently. He asked if you believe something is true even though it is wrong, is it a lie? I argued that yes, it's a lie you believe. He pushed and said, but do you believe it is true? Is that your truth? I would hate to get into a "what is truth?" debate with a fellow Christian because we all remember the "washing my hands of it" moment! We all have moments when we weigh a story/memory in the balance and reject or accept it. 

I still maintain that it's a lie if there is truth (like, is the world flat or round?) but maybe he's right in that it comes into a gray area. What is your truth? Is your truth built upon a lie? And can you come to truth? Just because you believe it, is it true? I do believe a child can remember something over the years but when he grows up, he will see it more with the eyes of an adult, which can change the view. I've done that with some things, but many I remember correctly. 

The stories I'm sharing here are based on truth--some fragment of it. I suppose I can weigh in some comments and arguments on facts if you have proper documentation. It's something I want to do--as a writer, memorabilia-keeper, keeper of the family history, history lover and reader. 

But this is my story…and I'm sticking to it! 


Joe Allison said...

Good for you, Crystal. I wish I had done more to capture my mother's memories before she sank into dementia. We have a cassette tape that we made of her recollections some 15 years ago, great stories of how she supported my sisters and herself after her divorce, and how she met her second husband. I wish now that I had persuaded her to talk all night and just kept the tapes coming!

There was a golden Thanksgiving afternoon at my Uncle Frank's home in the mountains of North Carolina, a home he'd built himself with floor-to-ceiling beside a huge brick fireplace (he earned his living as a glass setter). While Uncle Frank and Aunt Marlene busied themselves in the kitchen, making dinner, Mom and I sat in front of that roaring fireplace want watched leaves falling outside. And there Mom told me how her parents moved from North Carolina to East Tennessee while she was still a school girl, and they had to drive their herd of cows on foot the whole way. That memory is on the tape of my mind...and I hope I never lose it.

Crystal Laine said...

Yes, Joe, that is exactly what I'm talking about--the interesting stories that are shared in a time when we sit and tell the stories. Does anyone do that any more? I don't know! I love that memory you had--not just the interesting story of your ancestors driving the cattle to Tennessee (my family lived in TN as well) but also the moment your mom shared it.

I wish I had been more proactive during the time everyone was still living. My Aunt Mina wrote down a lot of stories and II want to keep them going, as well.