After I posted my grandfather’s Thanksgiving thoughts last night, I spent the next few hours re-reading some other things that he wrote. I will definitely be posting more of it in the future. He was a great storyteller, and there are plenty of good stories in his memoirs.
TCH brought up something in the comments of that post that I think was pretty significant. We’ve all but lost the art of good, personal writing–letter writing was what he called it. I’m making a call right now with my small little voice that we do what we can to remedy this. If your parents and/or grandparents are still living, encourage them to chronicle the big events in their lives at a minimum, or to write an entire life story. You’ll be surprised how much entertainment and wisdom you can gain from their experiences, and you’ll probably make their day by just showing interest in their lives.
In the same vein, it’s worthwhile for all us to do the same. Blog software makes that easier than ever before (you don’t have to make the blog publicly available) but a pen and pad work just as well. I actually have everything my grandfather wrote scanned and converted to .pdfs, and it is cool to see it in his handwriting.
Some of the best stuff my grandfather wrote was about what it was like growing up in the 1920s and 1930s. It is really interesting to me because he grew up about 10 miles from where I did; yet his experiences were so different from mine. It is strange to imagine, but the way we grew up would be very foreign to the way kids are growing up today. Your personal description of the Atari 2600 or riding a bike with no helmet may actually interest someone somewhere down the line.
When I think of all the funny stories I have accumulated over the years, it is sad to think that they will all die with me. Maybe I’ll record them all, at least cleaned up versions of them, and no one will care. But maybe someone will. I should at least give them the opportunity to decide if any of it is worth the bother.