I have always loved history. By the time I finished sixth grade at the soon to be demolished Samuel P. Kyger Elementary School I had read every nonfiction book relating to history and every biography in the school library.
When I was around 13 or 14 my grandmother and I embarked on a tour of family history. We visited old homesteads, schools and the last resting place of every family member she knew. This tour covered the burial sites of ancestors going back to before the civil war. I heard stories of her relatives -- her grandmother arrived on the "Orphan Trains". She shared the rumors of her great uncle who, as she put it, "Liked boys a little more than girls". She was passing on a great deal of history. At that time I possessed a near photographic memory. I remembered not only every little cemetery but where in each the pertinent grave was located. I would tell myself, remember Joe, go clear to the right, all the way to the back second from last row, on the end -- Grandma Moore.
I was proud to be the designated keeper of the knowledge. Now, with the passing of my grandma, I am the only one who KNOWS. There is only one problem, I am not sure I can remember it all anymore. It has been thirty years since the great family history tour. I feel guilty on three counts:
1. I was trusted with knowledge and I was too arrogant to write it down. Instead I foolishly remember landmarks that are surely gone now.
2. I cannot remember all the information. Of course I realize that at 95, Grandma probably could not remember any of the information.
3. I do not know who I will pass the information to. My kids have no interest in history. We moved away from my hometown 16 years ago. The locations have no meaning to any of my children.
Will I have enough memory good sense at 65 to pass this knowledge to my grandchildren like my grandmother before me? Time will tell. Until then, I am sorry Grandma, but I will do my best to remember.