The Art of Story

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When I arrived home from my mom’s house, after loading then unloading my car with crates and boxes full of family photos, Bibles, journals, recipes and memorabilia, I stacked it all in my living room. Then I started to open those boxes and crates and through the musty, crinkly paper, the ink and lead, I began to see our family’s story unfold.

There are photos that date to the earlier side of the 1800’s. There are memoirs written by hand, interviews that were recorded on cassette and transcribed and typed. There are awards, funeral announcements, baby books filled with curly locks of hair and first words. There are recipes that date back to the 1800’s when my great, great, great grandmother taught her daughter the art of lefse making in Norway, before they emigrated.

Mostly, there are stories.

Each photo and love letter, every recipe and handwritten account has a story to tell. I look at these remnants of the past and wonder about it all. What would my ancestors tell me about what matters most in life? What’s behind the mischievous smile of my great, great uncle and his friends in that one photo? Were they happy with the way they lived life? Why, oh why, did they not write everything down – their day-to-day lives, their thoughts and feelings? I want to know it all.

What I have is a pretty good-sized collection of as many answers as are likely out there. The rest, I get to fill in.

The boxes and crates have moved around the house over the past couple of years. They are now scattered through three rooms. My desk, however, remains full of countless stories yet to be transcribed, photos to be mounted and family-lines to investigate.

And through it all, the story continues….


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