Malachi's Promise "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers...." Malachi 4:6

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Second-Hand Memories



I have lots of first-hand memories. Don't we all! They come from interactions with people, from experiences, from reading a book or watching a movie, from living life. I also have many second-hand memories, the result of others (mostly my aunts and a cousin) retelling their experiences in life and experiences with older family members including my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Some of these family members - ancestors - I never knew or didn't know when they were younger.

Another person's memory, given to me, becomes my own memory. Not my own in the same way as first-hand experience, by my own, nonetheless. My imagination embellishes the story my aunt told about my father and the homemade candy until I can almost see him as a little fellow in the farmhouse kitchen. I know by heart the house where my mother and her parents and sisters lived in the story my aunt told about her own grandfather teasing the grandchildren. I never saw the factory where two of my great-uncles were killed but I’ve seen postcards of the factory and read newspaper articles about their deaths.

These second-hand experiences become my own memories, and I share these experiences and memories here on this blog. I believe sharing first- and second-hand memories is a way that we can come to know those we have never met in person. It’s also a way to keep the memories of our ancestors alive. This is important to me because I can learn from my ancestors. The life of every one of my ancestors (if I can uncover/discover the story) offers a lesson in courage, determination, compassion, dedication, faith, or other worthy attributes and/or even some unsavory lessons in how not to live life.

I believe every one of my ancestors, not just the rich and famous, deserves to be remembered. I believe those who come after me, my daughters, in particular, and all descendants of those who came before, can expand their memories by learning about their ancestors. I hope that my family members who read posts about our ancestors will remember and share their experiences with their own children. I hope they'll share both their first- and second-hand memories.

--Nancy.

Copyright © 2011, NDM & My Ancestors and Me
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9 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Nancy! Just what I needed to read this evening.

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  2. You said exactly what I believe, and so eloquently. Great way to wind up the old year and get ready for the new!

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  3. Thank you, Nolichucky Roots and Greta. Happy New Year to you both.

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  4. I definitely agree- I never quite thought about it in these terms, but it's so true. Happy New Year!!

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  5. Nancy,
    I think you just explained the very essence of the joy of genealogy! What a wonderful post!

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  6. I love the notion of "second hand memories." Isn't even more interesting when they become so entwined with our first-hand memories that we can't tell the difference. I guess that is what we might call "inheirited" memory.

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  7. Nancy, A wonderful post. You said it so well --- and we all know exactly the feeling. Wonderful.

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  8. Thank you Natasha, Dorene, Family Curator, and Joan, for coming to visit and commenting. I appreciate it.

    Family Curator, thanks for adding your thoughts to mine. When I was writing this I was thinking about my twin niece and nephew who were born when I was 16 and all the memories my family and I had about them and how we shared those memories as they grew. A few years ago I asked my nephew if he remembered a particular event. He was probably too young to remember but having heard about relatives' memories of the event, the memory had almost become his own. Definitely entwined!

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  9. Nancy, this was a wonderful post!! So well stated, I feel the exact same way - all my "acquired" memories are probably even more precious to me than my own since many of the people who gave them to me are no longer here.

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I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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