I bumped into a person the other day who made my mind wander about the past. He was a lifelong friend of my maternal granddad and he remembered him fondly with the words, “he was the best person. I miss him a lot.” This frank admission made me hope that I would live such a life that people would remember me in the same way.
What this meeting also got me thinking about was my granddad’s childhood. I want to know how it was, what school he went to and how his father managed to save up enough money to pay the ship’s fare to England. I want to know whether England matched his expectations or whether life was more difficult than he imagined. I want to about all these things but I can’t ask him. I was far too young to think of these questions when he was still alive.
Now I have an idea. Perhaps it is time to do a bit of family research. Perhaps I could interview a few of his friends, they were an extremely close-knit group after all. They were all the best of friends whilst their wives were too. His friend told me how every week they would meet as couples and whilst the menfolk talked, my grandma would chat away to his wife, freeing whatever worries were on her chest.
As he remembered this, he gave the following advice: “Always have a smile on your face, be friendly with everyone and give in charity.”
My granddad is not the only person I would have liked to interview. My paternal grandma passed away at the old age of 85. She had many stories to tell but I never acted on my impulse to write them down when we went ‘back home’ for a holiday, although we were quite busy with two weddings! What this meant was that I missed out on the opportunity to discover the history of my family as she was one of the only people who had the complete history of how life was for our family sixty or so years ago. The struggle they went though was immense but it is amazing what they managed to accomplish.
I guess I need to find out another way to learn about the fascinating history of my family. Which family member would you most like to interview? IF they are still alive, then I suggest you seize the moment otherwise you may end up regretting it, like me.
Also, have you interviewed a family member and what has been the most interesting thing you discovered?
Until Next Time
A Worried Student