Now this is just my parents, grandparents, siblings-7, siblings spouses-5 and grand kids-4(pre-Yahoo.) I love this picture because it was the last taken with my Grandma L (sitting in front) with this part of the family before she died.
Yesterday, I received from my cousin a photo she had received from another family member.
In the center is my Grandpa L, married to the grandma mentioned above, holding his oldest son...my Uncle S. Next to him is his sister and brother and their children.
I was so thankful to receive this photo because I have so many wonderful memories of these relatives. My Uncle S (middle baby) and I once roamed a bookstore together for hours when I was in my twenties. I still have the Bible handbook he bought me that day.
That baby on the left? I spent a good deal of my teenage years sweet talking him into buying me ice cream!
My Grandpa L had the best sense of humor!! Well...it was a good sense of humor if you weren't on the receiving end! When I was five I was camping with him and Grandma and after dinner I went to play while Grandma did dishes. When I came back there was only one cup left on the table. Being five, and thirsty, I presumed it was mine. Grandma piped up, "Don't drink that! Those are Grandpa's teeth!" Sure enough, his teeth were soaking in the bottom. Now Grandpa was sitting RIGHT THERE and watched me pick up the cup and never said a word! Stinker!
Grandma L decorated cakes when my dad was growing up. When she was making cakes there was always tons of leftover frosting so all the grandkids would eat frosting and graham cracker sandwiches at her house. It wasn't until years later I finally understood why my dad never ate cake anymore....that was a lot of frosting to eat over the years. Now I have her frosting knife hanging in my kitchen.
These pictures caused me to realize there are hundreds of stories I could tell about the people in them. Yip and Yap will often ask me to tell stories about their aunts, uncles and grandparents and other relatives they know and that we have pictures of.
But what about those relatives they have never met? Or stories passed down about relatives who we don't have pictures of? I think those people and stories have value for my children too.
Let me share with you my family stool. (No not the toilet!)
Back when I was teaching I painted this stool and used it for a project with a gifted art class. I painted "stories" about my family on it.
Most of my family were farmers. My Great Grandfather was struck by lightning and killed on top of a wagon while helping neighbors gather in the hay. This was during the Depression and he left seven children behind.
My grandfather and father raised zuchinni, pumpkins and squash when I was growing up.
My dad owns a little orange tractor I grew up driving all over the farm.
My mother and Great Grandmother made tatted lace.
I found the motto in a German ancestry book, "Fear God, Love Work." On one side of the stool it is written in English and the other side in German.
My boys enjoy looking at the pictures and hearing the stories that go with them. Yahoo just likes to shove it up and down the hallway!
You don't need a stool to tell your children stories of your family but maybe storytelling can become a routine activity for your family. Why not tell stories in the car? Or at bedtime? Maybe you can research and create a family tree together. What if you don't have kids? I am sure there are neices and nephews who would greatly enjoy hearing stories from you.
We have lost the tradition of story telling in our culture. I was lucky enough to have many wonderful story tellers in my family. (I am not one of them!) Why not spark up story night? Why not call up Grandma and Grandpa?
What a gift to leave your children; time together as family learning about family.