In June of 2008 I entered a piece here on the eponymous Family History project; rereading it now I see it needs updating, so update it I shall.
I reported then that in 1999 I had found my cache of my brother Barry's letters from Reunion. I collected his letters from others in the family and transcribed them, in date order, into the computer, along with the text of his notebook. The deal then was that he would work on the material after he retired.
Retire he did, in 2004, but it wasn't until quite recently that work on this manuscript resumed. Retirement, as I well know, is a hard-working enterprise.
He too had moved a great distance on retirement, and he too had taken a while to find everything that had been packed, stored, shuffled about, from his previous life. Recently he came upon a package of letters which our mother had returned to him in one of her periodic purges as her life narrowed, finally to one room in a nursing home. Half a dozen of the letters had my note on them, to the effect that they had been transcribed in 2000. The rest were new to the project, filling in big blanks in the overall story. Meantime Barry had written several pages of the linking narrative, and now with these additional letters I am off to the races again with this project.
Talking about these letters of Barry's reminded Brother David that he too had been recipient of HIS letters to Mum and Dad, from his time in the army, and later from his years abroad. These letters too will be added to the narrative of my brother David's story, which, by the way, is now in his hands in draft form, lacking of course, the letters, which have only just come to my hands.
Confused? I am. And overwhelmed. FOUR projects are now making screaming demands on me for urgent, prompt completion. The story of David Stark, my husband David's grandfather, because his daughter - my mother-in-law - is half past ninety-eight. Brother Barry's book. Brother David's book. Great-Aunt Mary's book. Three of the four are about Niebuhr descendants.
I did not grasp, when I retired, how hard it would seem necessary to drive myself to accomplish my retirement goals.
In addition I did not grasp the limitations fate - and age - would put on my cognitive ability. The feeling of urgency is close to overwhelming...