Family stories

As I was sitting in the living room yesterday morning, stitching and enjoying the quiet, I started thinking about the reactions of different people to the “stay-at-home” orders that most of are complying with. Then my mind moved on to webpage updates, especially for those fixed pages where I attempt to record progress on non-knitting, and whether or not I should add some additional sections.

Which led me further toward the fact that, unlike a lot of American’s (as well as people elsewhere in the world) because of my circumstances (retired from a US government position) I have a fixed pension that drops in my bank every month. My expenses have actually gone down (no cruises, no in-person conferences, no sci-fi conventions, no associated airfare or hotel bills). I have enough pocket money to buy craft supplies as well as contribute to those organizations in my area which are accomplishing what I can’t do personally.

Which further led me to shopping – now on-line rather than in person. And yes, I am getting to the family story bit – it will arrive shortly.

Anyway, shortly after George and I moved into the house (Dec15-Jan16), we started to “put stuff” in to the house and organize things the way we wanted. Obviously, nothing was the same about the furniture, room layout or shelving as we had in Germany. So it was new location for everything. Then, I started tackling the room upstairs that would be my “sewing/craft room.” About ½ the size of the space I had in Germany with zero shelf space for the hundreds of books and patterns which I had accumulated (and we are not speaking of the 8145 paperbacks donated prior to leaving Germany). Looking back, some of the decisions I made were sensible at the time, and others? Well, let us say that those items have been replaced.

As I started doing more sewing, I decided to use those wonderful JoAnn’s coupons for 50% off or the rare 60% off to accumulate a few of the bigger items. One of those was a dress form. Now, a dress form needs a name, even though she doesn’t have a head. So I named her Gertrude Mergatroid.  (see, I am getting there).

And then I thought, whoa – exactly where did that come from? After a few minutes I realized that this particular name had been often used by my maternal grandmother Esther when referring to a generic woman “of a certain age.” Esther was born right around the turn of the previous century (1900 era for those, like me who have a challenge moving their mental timeline back a century after decades of consistency). There were names in her childhood that are extremely uncommon anymore. Gertrude being one, Esmeralda being another. I am sure that you can think of more.

When I look at the dress form, which my youngest daughter Miriam is currently using, I feel a connection going back to that grandmother who died in the early 1990s. And wonder, how many connections and stories are we currently losing from the generation above us as we hunker down in place. What will be missing in family stories that we will not be passing from our previous generations through us to our children, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren.

what kind of stories do we want them to know, want them to remember? About us, about our ancestors? And about how we contributed to our community and world in this time of challenge?

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About Holly

fiber person - knitter, spinner, weaver who spent 33 years being a military officer to fund the above. And home. And family. Sewing and quilting projects are also in the stash. After living again in Heidelberg after retiring (finally) from the U.S. Army May 2011, we moved to the US ~ Dec 2015. Something about being over 65 and access to health care. It also might have had to do with finding a buyer for our house. Allegedly this will provide me a home base in the same country as our four adult children, all of whom I adore, so that I can drive them totally insane. Considerations of time to knit down the stash…(right, and if you believe that…) and spin and .... There is now actually enough time to do a bit of consulting, editing. Even more amazing - we have only one household again. As long as everyone understands that I still, 40 years into our marriage, don't do kitchens or bathrooms. For that matter, not being a golden retriever, I don't do slippers or newspapers either. I don’t miss either the military or full-time clinical practice. Limiting my public health/travel med/consulting and lecturing to “when I feel like it” has let me happily spend my pension cruising, stash enhancing (oops), arguing with the DH about where we are going to travel next and book buying. Life is good!
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4 Responses to Family stories

  1. AlisonH says:

    My mother used to say “heavens to Mergatroyd!” when she was exasperated. Why, I have no idea.

    Her mother’ mother died when her mom was eight. When Gram was 60, she sat down and wrote her autobiography so that in case anything happened to her anytime soon her grands would be able to have a sense of who she was–and then she lived to be 96. She debated holding on so as to be able to see she’d seen three different centuries, but then went, nahhh.

    But the book! What life was like for someone born in 1899 and how it changed!

    And that is how I got started writing my blog. It keeps me putting some piece of me onto the page just about every day. It’s for my grands, from before I even had any. My father’s father died when I was a baby and I have absolutely nothing to know who he was. I don’t want mine to grow up with the sense of loss I had from not having my grandfather.

    • Holly Doyne says:

      And, even the changes we have seen in our life times. Even not experiencing the Great Depression, WWI, WWII and the Korean War, just the technological changes, communications and travel ability alone…

  2. Ron says:

    Years ago while visiting a cousin with my older brother, we looked through a box of old photos of our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all of whom are no longer with us. My brother and cousin recognized many of them. I had a much harder time. When those two are gone, most of those photos, even the ones of my father going off to WWII, will no longer be part of our family history.
    To avoid this, I put some of them into a family tree/photo album to let the next generations see and read about their ancestors on their computers, tablets and phones. No one was interested.

    • Holly Doyne says:

      And, by the time they are (probably when they hit our age) you won’t be around to fill them in. Still an important thing to do

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