I’m hoping to find a song she wrote and let the world – and especially our family – know about it.
Memoir is Not the Only Option
Every few days, it seems, I am reminded of the urgency to collect, document, and share the stories of our families.
These three bits from this past week seemed to converge and shout at me: “Get started!”
#1 – Yiddish Gathering
I invited some friends over to celebrate Yiddish.
We read a funny lesson from the magazine Pak ‘n Treger about what to do if you run into a bear in Yosemite Park – and how to find out if it’s a Jewish bear!
We sang Bei Mir Bistu Shein, Shein Vi Di L’Vone, and Tumbalalaika with a Neil Sedaka CD.
We also shared stories, like this one:
“When I was little, my grandfather lived with us. Every day when I’d get up from my nap, I saw him reading the Forvert (daily Yiddish newspaper). He was always sitting on a beautifully carved wooden stool. And he’d call to me “Kum [come]. Sitz [sit]. And he taught me to read.”
— [Thanks to BD for this charming story!]
#2 – Finding the Family History
After months of searching, I found the 3-ring binder in which our daughter had, during middle school, captured much of the family history for a school project.
I am so grateful to that school, for that project! She has documented tidbits that no one is left to confirm.
What a mechayeh [joy, relief]!
#3 – Preserving My Mother’s Story
A few weeks ago, we had a mini flood in the house (broken pipe), which, during the clean-up, led me to find a short story that my mother wrote a long time ago. (Isn’t it amazing how one not-so-good thing can help you find your way to a great something?)
Although I’d long heard about it, I’d never read it. Turns out, it is an absolutely enchanting story about clothespins and clothe lines, about moving into the light, about enjoying the sunshine – and about a way of life that, for most of us, is gone.
So my goal (my hope) is to work with an illustrator friend and have this story reproduced for my mother to inscribe and give to all her great-grandchildren in time for Hanukkah this year.
What’s the Takeaway?
I’m realizing that there are countless ways to preserve our stories, far beyond just the perhaps-intimidating-to-start memoir.
- Write up one anecdote.
- Preserve a great quote from a grandchild or a parent. [Link is to a great idea on Pinterest to save quotes.]
- Put a favorite family recipe on cards and hand them out to kids, grands, nieces/nephews. See what this son and daughter did to preserve their mother’s recipes: http://www.ourmothersrecipesonline.com/)
Have you discovered new ways to preserve your family’s history? Please let us know.