Saturday, February 16, 2013

What We Leave Behind

I've been reading my great-grandfather's autobiography.  I didn't even know he'd written one until this Christmas.  I was visiting my grandpa when his sister came by - a sister I didn't even know lived in Alberta, much less the same home as my grandparents - with seven copies of their dad's life story that she didn't know what to do with.

Needless to say I took one off her hands.

It's been interesting.  The pieces of my family history have been passed down to me in a tangled ball, some sections clear and linear and others so knotted up that I have no idea if they actually belong to the same string of history or are just a little scrap that got caught up in the mess somehow.  I've been able to sort out some of the stories now; like, Grandpa didn't work in a CO labour camp during WWII, but Great-Grandpa was a supervisor at one.  And we might not be German after all, but Prussian or Polish; thanks to the names, dates and birthplaces Great-Grandpa drops in the beginning of the book, a co-worker of mine was able to find baptism records for probable (Prussian) ancestors dating back to the 1600s.

Very cool.

It's making me wonder what I'm leaving for future generations.  What story will they be able to piece together out of the bits of yarn that make up my life?  Will it make sense?  Will it be interesting, or will it be a list of dates and names, purchases and addresses?  Will any of my thoughts be left behind or am I just leaving data?

I think, given that I've kept a fairly steady journal since I was 6, that there will be plenty of my thoughts to go around for years to come.

But it's still making me ponder my daily choices, when I realize that somebody, someday, may look back and feel pride - or regret - that they are related to me.

No comments: