The other day my sister Mary called up - I mentioned this before - saying she had a brilliant idea. And indeed, it IS brilliant. She said that we first cousins of the Hinde family - our father's - should while we still can - write of our memories of our grandparents, Dad's parents. They died more than half a century ago, and for some of their grandchildren the memories will be few. Three of their grandchildren are no longer with us. If we are going to do this, we need to get on with it.
Mary and I are putting together a letter to go out to all the first cousins on Dad's side, proposing that we all write our memories, and Mary and I assemble them into a book. We propose to target completion of the book before April 2012, which will be he centennial of the Hinde family's arrival in Canada.
My contribution to the book has been started. I realized that my memories of my grandparents were few, and blurred together in my child's mind. Is it MY memory, or a recollection of what I have been told, or an old photograph imagined as a memory?
Science journals of late have been full of scholarly articles on how the mind and the memory operate. Vast questions remain without definitive answers. Neural biochemistry doesn't help me to work out what is real and did in fact happen to me, and what exists only in my mind. Comparison of memories with others is not useful except in the broadest factual statements, like, yes, we did have that holiday trip, and the year was 1948...
The arrival of another project might have been daunting, had I not been giving a lot of thought to my purpose in my retirement. Family stories, family connections, family genealogy - that's what I DO, and increasingly, what I AM. And it seems that's all right with me.
Sometimes these blogs take days to write. Today I am packaging up my father's book for mailing tomorrow to all of his children and grandchildren. The book has been "in process" for more than twenty years and finally I just said STOP. It doesn't really feel finished because - predictably - as I was finishing the printing runs two days ago a package arrived from a connection on Dad's side. The package contained material which could/would/should have been in the book, and it's NOT. Perhaps in a later edition, if such is ever wanted? Or perhaps another book altogether?
The rest of the material in that package - which represents a small part of what my connection proposes to lend me in stages - has it it at least three new projects, so my "in process" list just got bumped from 23 to an estimated 30, in consideration of the material yet to come.
The daunted feeling is edging back a little into my consciousness. It is A VERY GOOD THING that I love doing this stuff.