I’ve decided to take it upon myself to become the unofficial family historian. I want to find out not only as much as I can about the history of the various sides of my family, but also most importantly, I want to gather as many stories as I can, straight from the horses mouths if possible.
I’m going to start off with my dad’s side of the family, which means a road trip down to North Carolina either this spring or this summer to see my grandmother, who is in her late 80’s. She’s half deaf, her mind is starting to go, and you eat her cooking at your own peril. I’m heading down there with a camera, and most importantly an audio-recording device of some kind.
Why have I decided to take on such a potentially torturous task? A few reasons: A) I have been reminded so much in the past few months of how mortal we all are. B) My dad’s never been the talkative type, my grandmother on the other hand…C) I think I’m well prepared to ask the right questions and do this interview justice. Having a degree and a job in the communication’s field has to be worth something. D) My grandmother’s the only living grandparent I have. She’s been plagued by medical conditions most of her late adult life and may not have all that much longer. I don’t know her as well as I should, and honestly one trip won’t suddenly make us close, but it will allow me to record some of the stories that will be lost when she dies.
If this all sounds a bit morbid, don’t worry, I feel the same. This won’t be my entire vacation though. I plan to take a few days of “real vacation,” and maybe visit a friend in California, or see my sister in New Orleans. However, this is something I feel strangely compelled to do. I want to hear my grandmother’s stories, even the ones that might seem pointless to her, because I expect that they’ll give me some insight into the personalities of my family members. I want my future kids and grandkids to know where they came from. I want to be able to say, “This is a part of the Across The River family history. Listen as your great-grandmother recounts the story of how your grandfather knocked out your great-uncle with a crowbar when he was 8-years-old.”