A wonderful gift

Yesterday, Kate told a very interesting tale in her blog post.

Way back in August – my son gave me a book, it was a hardback with pages full of questions about my life. I was asked to complete it and give it back to him as a Christmas present.

The post is the story of the book.  The reliving of her life through words and photos, written in her own hand.

So many of us communicate through electronic means these days that soon there will be no trace of our handwriting.  Reading the post brought back a memory for me.  Some years ago I obtained copies of the 1901 and 1911 census forms with regard to my paternal grandparents family.

The most fascinating detail for me was that the forms were filled in and signed by my grandfather’s hand.  My father was born at the tail-end of 1911, so his arrival was too late to appear.  Eleven years later, my grandfather died.  I do have the odd photo and many stories of his life, but those forms are the only REAL link I have to the man.

The most fascinating detail for me is that the handwriting is exactly the same as my fathers!

Just think how fascinating it would be to have my grandfather here to look back at those photos and tell about them from the ‘inside’!  The day they were taken, was it a special day?  Who took the photos, were they wearing Sunday best?  What stage the children were at, how was the business doing…..

That would begin the journey to his siblings, his parents and perhaps his grandparents.  I do know who they were, I have the lists and thanks to an uncle, older than my father, some very rich tales so lovingly told to us when we were young.  Alas, all the older generation have moved on to the great family gathering in the sky.  One by one the clods of soil separated us from the older generation, and with them died the stories.  We were far to young to think of asking them to write down their memories.

Do you have children or grandchildren?  Have you thought of making a memory bank for them?  I know that Maria at Silver Fox Whispers is an avid Memory Book maker.

Details of the book that Kate used are on her Blog, but you could write your own and self publish.  Blurb.com are easy to follow and give an excellent finish. Elly has produced several books with them, both soft and hard covered, the photos in particular are excellent quality.

Now where did I put that pen…. I wonder if I can still do joined up writing?

8 thoughts on “A wonderful gift

  1. wisewebwoman

    Lovely post GM, thanks for the link to Blurb, I am writing my mother’s story and will use that for a chap book for the family.
    We need to put these memories down before we are separated by the clods.
    I wish, like you, that I had known my paternal grandfather ( have a brother who is the head off him) who died in a flu epidemic. He was a painter and an artist and worked on the estate of the great house of the town as did his father and grandfather before him and I do believe this is what saved the family from the so-called “Famine” which I call “Deliberate Extermination”.

  2. rummuser

    I had a flowing and very readable hand writing till the palsy decided to play spoil sport. Luckily, my signature has not got affected, but my hand writing has gone for a toss.

    Ranjan has the complete record of my and Urmeela’s life as well as both our families. My brother had just been to Pune for a visit and sat with my father and collected a lot of details for precisely this purpose.

  3. Grannymar Post author

    WWW – I unfortunately never knew either grandfather, Mammy’s father died in his sleep before any of his grandchildren were born.

    Ramana – So long as you can sign the cheques, you will be fine! 😉

    I am glad your brother had this opportunity to gather the family history. I have discovered when talking to my sister about early childhood memories, that they are often first time stories for her. She was much younger and was away at boarding school for several years. I suppose by the time she got to know the older generation they were more interested in their ailments! 🙁

  4. Brighid

    I dearly wish I had listened more closely to my grandmother. That said I have tried to log my father’s stories, in written form and audio. I had him just tell things as he remembered them and it has been fun for both of us. My mother will not do it, I have no idea why.

  5. nick

    What a brilliant idea, to give his mum a book full of questions about her life. I wish I’d had that idea when I was a kid. Of course I know all about my mum’s life now but that would have informed me a lot quicker!

  6. Grannymar Post author

    Brighid – So many of us think we will be around forever and by the time the younger generation think of showing an interest or asking questions, it is too late.

    Nick – It is also a nice idea for anyone with children to pass on the info to them or to a new grandchild – a ready made potted history of their ancestors.

  7. paulo1

    Sadly the only thing I remember my grandmother saying was ” whats the first part of a cow to go over the fence ?” What’s that Grandma ? said I. ” It’s breath” said she and giggled into her handkerchief. I never understood if it was a play on breadth or what but it’s all I’ve got. Oh and she made the best apple pies I’ve ever tasted even to this day.


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