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Veterans Day is Sunday and we realize at this time that veterans of World War II are becoming fewer each day. Those who are left still have stories to tell. Are you recording them in some way? History that you help to record carries more interest than what you read in a book.

Lots of people have a grandparent or other relative who has been promising to write down their memories. Record memories of women and children of the times, too. Don’t wait for them to do it, you may risk losing part of your own history. Record the interview on tape or at least write down their answers. They will probably feel that your request is an honor. Your time and effort will prove that you take their memories seriously. A taped interview will also preserve something unforgettable--their voice, how they express themselves, and a sense of who they are. My childhood lullabies were cowboy ballads, sung by my Dad. I have a recording of him singing those songs. This is much more meaningful that just the written words and music.

Talk to your relatives who appear in family photos, and ask them five questions: who, what, where, when and why. Record their answers. If a photo relates to other family information, record this too. Just don’t write on the photo. Some photos will leave you with guesses, hunches and new mysteries rather than answers, so save these mysteries. The answer may be somewhere else in your family history. A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. It is so rewarding to see some of your ancestor’s characteristics surface again in you or your children

War, peace, love, death, recipes, and weather reports are all part of old family letters and diaries. They will show you two sides of your history, the remarkable and the ordinary. Letters of long ago carry ideas and points of view as well as a glimpse of their times. Try to identify the writer and recipient of family letters, as well as when and where they were written. Family Bibles, diplomas, invitations, newspaper clippings, and ticket stubs also will contain clues of your history. I kept a journal of a trip through Canada and it tells of the milk cartons being printed in French. It also recalls lots of picnics, because there were no McDonalds at that time.

Be sure to write a few lines on what you see, read and hear about--weddings, jobs, scandals, local news, politics. This is all history, not just facts and figures, but what makes our country unique. Family recollections matter. It is O.K. to write your own story too. If one of your parents had written a journal, wouldn’t you want to read it? Think of all we are learning, even from the Amie Sexton Silcott letters. She is not even a blood relative to most, but we certainly feel a kinship.

November and December will bring opportunities for family gatherings. Record your own history. Help is available. Try the library, web sites and Historical Society members. The Chronicle will be interested in what you accomplish.

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:


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