Telling Our Stories

I am going back through some posts from a blog  I no longer maintain.  These are posts that I think are worth sharing again.

Been a busy couple of weeks with one thing or another. I was thinking about histories and personal journals the other day. I’ve kept my appointment books for the last decade or so because I didn’t want to lose that part of my personal history. I’m not one of those people who can rattle off at a moment’s notice when this happened or the date of that. I’m lucky if I remember everyone’s birthday from year to year. But the growing pile of these outdated calendars was really bugging my lady wife and being the good hubby I vowed to take care of it.
My solution was to copy all important dates/events/stories out into one of my larger journals. It’s been a wonderful exercise re-living my life. Notes on unusual weather events, cryptic notes about trips that no one seems to remember, wonderful moments like discovering the very first time we had to “ground” my daughter (she was 2!). Milestones that had slipped my mind are now safely recorded in the journal and the little books have been sent to the dump.
In the course of the exercise, it suddenly dawned on me. I don’t do this anymore. I’ve left behind the paper date book for a PDA. I no longer can quickly jot down the little events that take place. The graffiti mode is still not second nature to me and I’m too often away from my desk to type them in and synch them up. Besides it lacks a certain spontaneity a certain organic je ne sais quoi. I think I’ve lost something in the process.
Our lives today seem so forward focused that we forget we have a past. My life is not a free floating mote of energy unconnected to the universe around me. I am part of a continuum of Phillippis that stretches back in this part of the world to before the Revolutionary War. I am connected with Francis who came to this land as an 18-year-old orphan, dispatched by his uncle to scout out the new world for the family as they prepared to leave France. There are generations of dirt farmers between him and me but they are all there. I have strong bonds with a lawyer in Texas and a script reader in California, and a little old lady moving into her new house in Pennsylvania. Plus folks spread out across the country. They are part of my past but it is my past that makes up my present. This person typing, with a space heater blowing on his legs (cause it’s COLD today!) in WNY, didn’t spring spontaneously into existence. I come from somewhere, some of you who read this blog are part of who I am because you are part of who I was and what I did and where I came from. We must never forget that.
I need to find some way to continue to share this history so that perhaps one day a grandchild or great grandchild will come across the words and say “Hey, I’m related to this person and see what he did and what he thought!”


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