Friday, December 2, 2011
Why Do I Hold Back?
You've heard of Guerrilla Marketers? Well, my Mom was a Guerrilla Family Historian. She took no prisoners and she didn't hold back. Every family event for as long as I could remember was filled with family group sheets and tape recorders. And it's not like she bumped into these relatives once in a blue moon. She was with them at least once a year, every year. She had ample opportunity to fill out the forms and ask them questions. But did she do it once or twice? No, she did it every single time she got together with family. She always had questions and always needed to know more.
Earlier this fall I went to visit my Uncle Bob and Aunt Joan. Uncle Bob is my Mom's brother. He is now the oldest member of our family. The previous generation has long since passed away. We spent a lot of time talking during the visit. Boy, can I talk! And we did talk a lot about family history and I had them explain to me who was in the family photos that were on display.
Did I write any of it down? No. Did I ask if it would be ok to pull out my audio recorder? No. What was holding me back?
This is going to sound like a litany of excuses. On the one hand, it is a bit of backlash from my Mom. I feel like my relatives have probably had enough of all that family history stuff. The problem is there is still more family history to record. I don't believe my Mom ever got information my Aunt Joan. And there is still so much more that Uncle Bob could tell me. After all, I was not a part of their early lives as my Mom was so I would see their history as an outsider and have different questions.
On the other hand, I don't want to focus on the fact that my aunt and uncle are now the elders of the family. I don't want to make them feel like "I need to record you now in case I don't get another chance." I don't want to make them face their mortality.
Of course, if I don't get my questions answered and make some recordings I could very well miss that opportunity. I'm hoping that at some point I will get over this sense of awkwardness. Maybe I should talk to them about it.
Hopefully, someday, I'll be more like my Mom, the Guerrilla Family Historian. She has left a real treasure chest of family history information as a gift to future generations.
Photo Credit: Photo by Jimmy MacDonald and used under the creative commons license.
Posted by Marian Pierre-Louis at 9:56 AM