Have you ever read the children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams? It’s the tale of a toy rabbit’s quest to earn the love of his child-owner in order to become real like the other rabbits he met near the boy’s home in the woods.
I love the story because it’s about love and loss, and the desire to matter - to be “real” to the rest of the world.
The rabbit is told by another nursery toy, the Skin Horse, “…once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
Isn’t that what we all want? To become “Real for always?”
Researching and writing stories about my ancestors has made them “real” to me. I write the stories because I want my family to have them to read and to use as a tool to get to know them as I have.
But what of me and my personal legacy? How well am I doing leaving a record for future generations to learn from? How well are you doing? Do you consider how easily everything could be lost because of natural disaster, like fire and flood, and illnesses like Alzheimer’s?
When I reflect on the times I’ve sat with my children, watching their intrigue as I tell them stories about my life, or when we look at old photos of me as a child and a young woman in college I feel the depth of the value of telling these stories to them. We are bonded by the tales I tell them that come from my memory or that are triggered by a photo we find in an album or scrapbook. There is no happier family time than those times when we tell our stories.
“Tell us about when you were little!” they plead. As they listen I see their hearts transform and their minds connect to the new reality of human beings replete with strengths and weaknesses, hopes and desires, successes and failures.
But what happens to those stories and those photos over time? We told them often to our older children. Life has challenged us to remember how valuable those stories are to our younger children. I wonder about the risk I’m taking of having them lost forever to my children and future grandchildren because I haven’t digitized and archived them or the videos and photos that go with them.
Watch this short video and see what I found, or actually, what found me! It’s a miraculous project and I’m honored to be a part of it. We can do this!
Your ancestors’ stories make them “real”.
And you will be someone’s ancestor someday!
Click on the image to learn more. Register and start archiving your memories for free today!!