Back when a fellow named Ronald Reagan was president, when I was still on the fun side of thirty, I quit my job to take a few months off. To quote Theodore Roosevelt, it was my last chance to be a boy. To be able to sleep in each morning and not have to catch the 7:15 bus to work. No deadlines to meet, no bosses to please. The day was mine and mine alone to enjoy and explore. Why, I didn’t even have to shave if I did not feel like it!
To recapture some fond childhood memories, I ended up spending over three weeks that summer with both sets of grandparents, all of whom were still in good health. I took advantage of that special time to learn more about my family’s history, sitting down with each one with a tape recorder as they recounted their parents’ and grandparents’ experiences. I also dug into family records such as births and deaths recorded in old bibles and faded newspaper clippings. By the time I was finished, my small green Spiral notebook was bulging with dates and stories, some of them inspiring, others tragic. Surviving the Civil War, losing a husband with six children to raise, journeying alone from Europe to the American Midwest while knowing hardly a word of English. All of this ultimately leading down to me, driving around Iowa in a 1980 Ford Pinto with a rattling passenger door. (Not so sure this represents progress.)
In the thirty-six years following that Peter Pan Summer, the engaging family history I collected was typed up and saved on a diskette (twice), stored in my gmail account, and put out on Google Blogger. In July of 2020, I decided to migrate everything from Google to my WordPress website where I have better control over the appearance and presentation. It will also be easier to add more information and, eventually, old family photos (something I’ve always wanted to do).
With my grandparents and parents all having passed on, it is now up to me to keep the memories alive.