Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sharing History

One of MB's favorite activities at her Montessori school is the weekly show-and-tell time on Tuesdays. Typically, there's no set item that she and her classmates must bring, and often she takes along one of her Disney princess dolls or something having to do with ballet class. I've never actually been able to be there on a day where they've done show-and-tell, and it seems that it's often forgettable for the kids -- as evidenced by the fact that when I ask her what the other kids bring, she gives me a shrug and the "I don't know" look.

This week, the teachers asked that each child bring something relating to their family. Based on what A. told me after the fact, most of the kids ignored the request and brought random items. MB, however, went armed with part of her history -- photographs of her family.

Having a father who spent many years as a professional genealogist and has loved preserving our family's history for as long as I can remember, I've been fortunate to be able to see and read things about my family that are absolutely fascinating. For me, the old photographs are the most amazing thing, and my father has taken great care to scan as many of them as possible so that my siblings and I will have them for many years to come. Out of that collection, I printed several for MB that while not holding any special significance for her now will be very important to her and her sister in later years. I think the greatest gift we can pass on to our children (besides our love and support) is our family legacy, and I hope to do that as much possible in the years ahead.

To round out the story, I'd like to share a few of them here:

This first picture (left) is of one of my great-great-great grandmothers, taken not long before her death in 1919. I see someone who has had a difficult life and who is very tired, but who also seems very much at peace.

The picture on the right is of one set of my great-great grandparents, taken on their wedding day in 1906. In contrast to the first picture, I see youth, optimism and life's road that's wide open before them.

And finally, an example of the multi-generational photos that I love so much; the photo below was taken when I was just two or three years old and is of me (the really happy looking chap), my father, my grandfather, and my great-grandmother. She was the only grandparent of that generation who lived long enough to see any of her great-grandchildren; sadly, I only have an extremely vague recollection of her -- and judging from how thrilled I look in this picture, I must be blocking memories of the day.

No comments: