Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thinking Back and A Voice for the Future

Next week I am going to be creating a CD of memories for my children and their children, at the very least. I used to talk with the kids about making a DVD and we all agreed it was a great idea but there is that old problem - time, time, time. A few weeks ago I heard that our North Shore Senior Center had a new solution for creating my story.... The Life Stories Program. For a minimal fee trained volunteers would meet with me, bring some ideas about questions and get acquainted. They would come back a week later and tape an hour discussion. I would be provided with two CDs and could purchase more copies or,I hope,make my own additional copies.

On Thursday of this week Debbie came over for our first interview. She was an interesting woman and our conversation made me think of much I would like to share with my children, grandchildren and future great-grandchildren. I had also asked my kids to send me questions about things they would like to know and several did do that -- and they had very interesting questions for me to consider. So for a day or so I have been thinking about what I should share. You know, it is not as easy as I thought it would be. How does one wrap a life into one hour? What are the pieces that will be of interest? What to include and, as I looked over The Life Stories Program list of questions, what do I want to leave out?

The suggested question are sorted in a semi-chronological order; growing up,love and relationships, raising a family, about your work life and, lastly, the present day and future. Today I think I might use those headings and think of what I would most like to include.... and then, I betcha', it will be cut, cut, cut to get it down to one hour.

Right now, the best part of the process is thinking back to times I have paid little attention to in recent years. How different grammar school and high-school in the 30s and 40s in the South Shore community in Chicago was than the school days of my children and grandchildren. It was be difficult for them picture the rooms with six rows of eight desks each bolted in place. Some rooms you lifted the desk top to put the books and papers and in others they slid in an open shelf. Will they be able to picture the wine bottle shaped containers that were used to pour ink into the small containers in the upper right corner of the desks? After all, no lefties allowed, the pen was dipped into the right side ink holder. No changing room in those days. The music and art teachers came to our classrooms. We did go to gym though and another teaher in the gym. Oh, how they would howl if the could see pictures of us in our white 'sailory' tops with a black tie slid through a loop in front... and, oh, those awful bloomer looking back pants that ended mid-thigh. What lovelies we were!! In those days we had crossing guards at the corners... they were eight grade students who had achieved the honor of being patrol-boys. Perhaps there were girls as well but I don't remember any. How different it was! But, as now, I remember some special teachers.. both good and bad... as my own family does. I will have to leave out the name for courtesies sake, but I will never forget how much Mrs. Fitzgerald, my first grade teacher, looked like the picture of George Washington just above where she stood in the middle of the front of the room.

No lunchrooms for us! Everyone walked home for lunch and was back before the 1:00 bell. For me, it was about a 1.5 block walk and I was always in hurry to get home in time for Ma Perkins on the radio. The radio stories were important of life during my school years. And then there was the sandbox, the freezing so we could ice skate in the winter, the two warming houses, and Pete's cart at the Clyde exit at 3:00 most days. Pete had the most wonderful penny candies one could want; long red licorice sticks, wax bottles of liquid, snaps, and so much more.

The school is still there. Still being used.

But fifth graders today do not dress we did in 1942.

So, dear reader, you can see my problem can't you? It will take more than a week to relive it; how much longer to pick the bits to share and how will it ever be enough for them to understand that we had a wonderful time... without any of the technology they so take for granted as necessity and love to use as much as I do. This is not an easy task. I have hunch I will sharing more of it here.. perhaps with a picture of two as well.

1 comment:

Frank Damon said...

Actually, if you look at the other side of retirement, it is best to go back where you started and start enjoying the time when you can do vacations. It's very cool that you already have time for your family and grandchildren.