The generations who have come before - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,129
The generations who have come before

Warning: this is just a sort of blabbering post, I don't know why I feel the need to write it or post it, I'm not sure there's a reason for it.

I don't know how much other families know of their history. Mine has few stories, and no one treats our predecessors as anyone important.

We all as humans are egocentric...our lives are filled are filled with such astounding joy and sorrow and triumph and failure and change and strength and passion...what we feel is so important to each of us--our whole world is how we perceive it. So how can we knowingly forget the generations who have come before? When our predecessors died, for many of them their dreams and hopes and love died with them. Their grandchildren may know their names but not their stories. Their great grandchildren may not even know their names, but may wonder who they were. Their great-great grandchildren may do neither. And in that time, that person has ceased to exist. It only takes a couple generations. Think of how important your own life is, and imagine...in two generations, you may cease to exist. There will be no one to remember your life when you have gone.

With old age, your life may even cease to exist to you. What will you do when you cannot remember your name, your children's names, your first love, your favorite book?

I keep a journal, and whether or not anyone ever reads it, I will still exist in it. My memory and emotions will exist. That makes me less afraid, as my worst fear is to cease existing. It's why I tell so many stories that I'm sure are silly to other people.

I am so sad for our predecessors, those for whom it is too late to remember. I think of them as still living inside of me, but sometimes that's not enough. I wish they had journals I could read, to keep them alive today. I think we should all make efforts to remember those who have come before.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
TrinityQuiet is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 12:39 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 12,678
I think it's quite natural for humans to want to be remembered -- to want something of themselves to live beyond their lifetime. I think it has to do with a couple things, other than just being remembered. I think it also has to do with the desire for future generations to be better off. To learn from our mistakes (they never do) and to build on our successes (usually they just waste them.) I also think it has to do with fear of death and fear of what comes after; ie a sort of life after death, so to speak.

In previous generations, previous civilizations, these yearnings were satisfied by oral histories, by traditions passed down for centuries, for monuments, finally by the written word itself.

But no matter how well-documented, there's no possible way of getting inside the mind of previous generations. Because they're gone, and there's always something lacking in what they left. Even today, with all we can leave in the way of different kinds of media, there's still no guarantee that future generations will understand us....or even want to. Every new generation has a little different way of looking at things, and over time, what seems a perfectly normal rationale for something would be totally alien to our great-great-grandparents.

In this day and age, we're so disconnected from our roots that the stories of our families don't get passed down. If our parents didn't pass it down, then we won't pass it down, either. Many years ago I asked my grandmother, when she was quite elderly and near the end of her life, to write down something of her life for me. I got one page. One page. Just the facts, m'am. I was born .... I grew up in .... I immigrated .... I married .... That's about it.

So.....by all means, keep a journal. But do it for yourself. Don't do it for posterity.
coaster is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 01:20 AM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,251
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
Since I was a "surprise" baby, my grandparents were already in heaven when I was born, except for my Scottish grandmother. My mother took me to Scotland when I was 18 months old, as Grandmother was dying. I have a couple of pictures in my mind about that trip, and my mother said they are accurate.

I heard a lot of stories about my grandparents, but I really should write down what I remember. I have repeated the stories to the children, however. I have asked my cousins in Devon to write down what they know about my grandparents. Of course, they don't remember either, but their parents have probably told them stories.

Someone gave me a beautiful journal to tell my own story, and I keep thinking I should be writing in it, but.... I'm glad you reminded me!




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 09:33 AM
Senior Cat
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 786
I must be blessed in the fact that my mom wrote a "book" about herself starting with her childhood in the old country, and when and how they immigrated, and right up until the last of my siblings came into this world.
I treasure it, and at least once every two or three months, I take it out and read through it. It really made me understand my mother better, as it made me realize that she too was young and a little "hellion".
I only wish that I had the same from my late father.
cat1963 is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 03:09 PM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,251
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
Do you have a journal, Jacquie? Don't feel guilty if you don't. We always think tomorrow's another day. I should write jut a bit every day. The closest thing I have is very long journal from college, in which we had to analyze poetry and short stories, and then explain how they related to our own lives. There is a lot of "me" in the journal, but not a history.

I hope my children save what I have written, because that is often when we reveal ourselves. It has been a hobby all of my life, so I don't know why I didn't write a personal journal.




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 03:23 PM
Senior Cat
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 786
Although I do have a personal journal, I must admit that I am very lax in keeping it up to date.
One year for a Christmas present to everyone, I made up books of our family tree. I managed to go back as far as 1667 for my family, and back to 1675 for my hubby's family. In the book I "wrote" down what each person did for a living, and where they were born, when they married, how many children they had, and when/where they passed.
It was amazing to see how many of the past relatives influenced our lives as the years went on. I couldn't believe how many of the later generations chose the same professions as the earlier generations did.
I really enjoyed doing the books up, although it was a lot of work.
I only had 25 books to do in all.
I hope that the books will continue to pass on to the future generations.
cat1963 is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 04:12 PM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,251
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
What resources did you use?




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 04:33 PM
Senior Cat
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 786
I was very fortunate to have family members that are old enough to remember things that happened in the past, as well as had kept family bibles from ages past.
They didn't feel the need to do anything with them, figuring that they would always be around.
Having gone through a house fire a few years back, I know how fragile personal items can be. We lost everything except for our lives and the lives of our beloved pets. All of the pictures, books that had been handed down to me from my great great grandmothers were all lost.
You know the type of cookbooks that have the hand written notes from the user(s) in them? They too were all destroyed.
You never realize how much these small things mean to you until you no longer have them.
I now have copies of all of our pictures, music, movies (home), and any important papers in a safety deposit box. My family tends to put all of their pictures onto dvd's and then we send them to each other so that if anything should happen, one of us will still have a copy to burn and send to them.
Some people think that I am paranoid. I just think that I am playing it safe.
cat1963 is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:03 PM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,251
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
I understand very well, Jacquie. We lost almost everything in a fire. The entire house was gutted. Our pictures were in the room that turned to charcoal, and they have smoky edges and some browning from the heat, but I'm so grateful for them. I lost all of my yearbooks and books from my childhood and my mother's childhood--well, all of the books and papers in the bookshelves. I'm hyper about fire too.

We lost a 6 month old kitten and a bird. Thank God Pixie was outside, Cremepuff crashed through a basement window, and Checkers was revived by the firemen. The kitten was sleeping on a high shelf, and was overcome by the smoke. Our dog was outside and safe too. At that time we allowed our cats outside. It's the only time they would have been safer there. We lived on what used to be sparsely populated, but no longer.

It has been a while, but it takes a long time to forget, doesn't it? I'm hyper about fire also. But I should make sure I have copies of my important papers, as you do.

edit/error




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,129
Cat, I think that's great about the book you made That's so neat to be able to find everyone's work! And I'm sorry for what you lost in the fire That happened to my grandmother, once. We hear often about "We used to have (x) but it was lost in the fire".

I'm working on everyone's genealogy in my family, but no one really cares. The general response I've had is: "So?". I found genealogy on my brother's family back to the 1300's, but he's never even looked at it.

My family has nothing of their predecessors. My mother's generation cannot agree what their great-grandmother's name was. When my great-grandma died, she had four photo albums full of old, old photos--her daughter in law, eager to move into her trailor, threw every single picture she had away along with every record. My uncle used to have a box of pictures, but those were lost either when he went to prison, or when the sister he lived with was evicted, or maybe were just dumped because they'd been left out in the rain for three years.

I've done a bit of research...I didn't know I had Swedish in me. My great-great-great-great grandfather was a blacksmith in New York. My great-grandfather had a twin who died at birth; so did another one of his brothers. Their mother had eight children; four of them survived childhood. She signed the death certificate for every person in her family in 1917, the year of the flu epidemic and when she died there weren't even any death certificates left to make one for her, much less any family left to sign them. The survivors had already left for California. It makes me so sad that that woman survived such a life (her husband was a poor farmer in Missouri) only to have no one remember her strength. I wonder the blacksmith looked like. Not everything can be remembered, but three or four generations shouldn't be hard.

And Coaster, I do keep the journal for myself It's easy to go back and laugh at myself and better understand the patterns in my life that way.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
TrinityQuiet is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome