Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yesterday's history was "Real Life"

As modern day people, when we look back on the past, it's easy to put it all in a box and take out the emotion of the everyday lives.  Everyday, we have to deal with emotions.  Whether, it's the emotions that comes from spilling the salt shaker or seeing the morning news.  And lets be honest the morning news hasn't been all that peachy in quite a while.  Or seeing our kids getting along and laughing together.

But sometimes we can look back at past events and put it in a nice and tidy box and not deal with the emotional part of life that came with that time.  Maybe we want to know but we still manage to separate ourselves from the emotions of them.  Maybe because to us they weren't "real" or "before our time" or "un-imaginable".  Some of our ancestors went through things that we can only imagine in our wildest dreams...bad or good. 

Genealogist try to seek those times out.  We want to know what made our ancestor's tick.  What made them mad, or sad or more importantly happy.  I sometimes wonder where did that Timbrel temper come from.  And when dealing with my children how many generations back did the Wahl temper go....Genealogists or family historians, whatever you want to call us want to know these things.  

I have spent a good part of the past 5 years digging into the lives of not only my ancestors, my husbands but also random stranger's.  I have investigated the "everyday folk", murder's, robber's, the "cream of the crop" and even cities and have been touched and moved by a lot.  I have been brought to tears and laughed and stunned with the best.  A couple years ago when researching a particular relative of my husband's it suddenly occurred to me that I was looking at the face of my children's 6th Great Grandfather.  A rather moving moment. I mean he wasn't my blood but he was my kids' and that was amazing!

I had another one of those moment's today.  A rather sad one, I must admit.  I was looking about for an obit for just a "regular" fellow and his wife when I ran across this article.

Elko Daily Free Press 19 Nov 1976 Courtesy Northeastern Nevada Museum
The story of Patty Hearst is a sad one.  And I am not sure why this one in particular affected me today.  But it occurred to me that this was headline news back then.  This was real life for the people living.  Today we deal with President Obama and his medical care, gun bans, and school shootings.  This is what we are living today.  My kids are being taught in school today about segregation and  Marin Luther King Jr.  and in Nov 1976 they were living through the Patty Hearst saga.  Through all time we have been living with emotion, the key is find the good ones and try to concentrate on that.  We can't ignore the bad, as the saying goes "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," George Santayna. 

So what is your point Mindy, you ask?? Well, I think, one way to get out of our emotional box is to pick an ancestor and learn about them.  I am not encouraging you to go out and fill in your entire family tree.  Just one person in time.  Whether, it's someone that lived through something that makes the hair on your arm stand up or just someone that had the patience of a saint or just someone you have always heard about.  This is my call to my friends and family to get involved in learning about your past.  It is important!! Don't decide to become the super obsessed weirdo (not that there is anything wrong with being that person as I AM that person lol) family historian.  Just learn about someone, one person, that is related in bringing about the fact that you are here today. :D

1 comment:

  1. Oh a funny little side note:

    When I seen one of my friends that works at the museum walking by to I asked her to come in and see "what I had found". She goes "Oh! I remember this! Do you remember this?" And I said "Well, no I wasn't born yet but I remember hearing about it later" She walked away disgusted lol ;)