Life goes along in a number of threads. In the latter decades of life, I observe that the the threads have a way of weaving themselves together and instead of threads, there is a rope. This happened to me in retirement. Except for desultory work on assembling my father's writings, everything in my present life was woven from loose threads of mild interest, a general sense that family history was A GOOD THING, and the awareness that I had a very large extended family.
Now fifteen years into retirement, my waking hours are almost entirely given to matters rerlating to FAMILY. Family is the rope.
Why then did I start on a book the subject of which had nothing to do with MY family? I was asked by a fellow resident of my mother-in-law's to tell her story. Failing sight and hearing, and lack of skill writing English, meant that her story had to be told, not written, and despite the pressure of my own family projects, I undertook Lisa's story as an "...as told to.... I anticipate completing it in a few days. I must, in fact, because Lisa is leaving The Cedars at the end of October to move to Edmonton to be nearer her children and grandchildren.
Initially I turned down Lisa's request., but her story kept calling to me. The decade of her twenties was spent as a refugee in Europe, washed back and forth by the tides of war. There were many parallels with the experience of the Mennonites who stayed in South Russia rather than emigrating. Lisa's story had to be told, and clearly I was able to help her do that. It's not a long book, perhaps 40 pages with illustrations, but she is satisfied it has captured what she wanted her children and grandchildren to know.
I undertook this book because although Lisa's family is not my family, it IS the story of a family.
Writing this I realize, given my own family projects, how irrational this is as a reason to expend effort! But there it is.