Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Surrounded by History

 I have harped on this subject before. Please bear with me. The subject keeps returning.

My grandfather left the family farm in Tennessee to ride the rails out west. He worked in San Francisco following the Great Earthquake, and rolled through a number of states before winding up in the very small town of Glendale in the Arizona Territory where he picked cotton, delivered mail, and sold vegetables before buying some nearby farmland shortly before statehood. He lived well into his eighties and had a number of interesting habits, such as giving a dollar bill for birthdays. If you were one year old, you got a dollar and if you were 30 years old, you got a dollar.

Quaint. Charming. We all know the type, but here's the interesting part: My brothers and sisters and I never thought to ask him about his life. We grew up near a man who knew people who'd fought in the Civil War, but we didn't bother to ask questions. No queries about San Francisco after the quake or what it was like to jump off a freight train in Colorado, although he could have - and probably would have - told us some interesting stories.

And, of course, no one bothered to write anything down because we'd collected nothing that could be put on a page.

Recommendation: Don't make that mistake.

No comments: