It’s someone else’s birthday, and they give you a gift?
OK, it doesn’t happen all that often. But yesterday, my dad turned 75. If you’re an incredibly long-time reader of my blog you might remember that for both my parents, I made a memory scrapbook for them when they turned 70 (there’s a post about my dad’s here … I wasn’t blogging yet when I made the one for my mom). This year, on his own birthday, my dad made a book for me — a collection of his family stories.
My late Uncle George was the semi-official family historian, and one of the last things he was able to do before he died (with the help of his daughter, my cousin Jennifer) was compile the family history he’d been working on for years into a book that could be shared with the family. That book is a treasure to have, and now I have a wonderful companion volume of my own dad’s stories, which cover some different angles on the family history and the tale of growing up in the Morgan family as my dad, the middle child, remembers it.
Several times in the book he talks about how he regrets not listening more to older folks when he was a kid. I have always been fascinated by storytellers, in a family that has been blessed with many of them, and I think I always enjoyed listening, but I’m sure there were times as a kid or a teen when I tuned out. I’m so glad to have these stories written down. I often think my own kids don’t listen with enough attention to older folks, and I guess it’s again a case of not appreciating what you’ve got till it’s gone, but tonight Christopher asked if he could take Grampa’s book to bed with him for reading time, so maybe it’s come along at just the right time to awaken his curiosity about family history. I’m glad my dad’s stories are preserved in a form where Chris and Emma will be able to look back and enjoy them in years to come. Wouldn’t it be great to have a whole library of family stories to pass down to each future generation?
To any “older folks” (I guess anyone older than I am, especially if you have grandchildren) reading this — tell them stories. And then take the time to record or write down some stories, because while they may not listen or remember now, someday they will treasure your memories.
And happy birthday, Dad!