In her own words -
"I don't remember who gave me my nickname, “The Historian“, I am not sure it was given out of love or appreciation, probably more out annoyance other's felt about my deep-seated drive to document, save, collect, and record everything about family. I came by it honestly. Both of my grandmothers have passed along everything from court records and books about our family history to photos so old you can barely make out the people in them.
My father made audio recordings of my brother and me when we were little. While I love watching videos, nothing touches me more than closing my eyes and listening to the voices of people I love. My mother saved special outfits, toys, every piece of schoolwork and art, my brother and I ever created. I find myself doing the same with my two boys.
When I married, family silver was passed down to me along with generations of china, and crystal. When we bought our home, my mom and grandmother brought us daffodil bulbs from gardens of friends and family members, and after my Grandmother Breland passed away, I added Purple Dutch Iris bulbs from her garden.
When you walk through our home, you will find it decorated with memories, history, and experiences. My father chides me from time to time about attaching too much meaning to objects of the past, but I've come to believe that's when you know it's time to pass it on to the next generation, changing the old guard to new. I realize there are parts of our past we should relinquish, it's therapeutic, I've done it myself many times. But it's the pieces of my family's collective history that give me comfort. I've spent time learning about relatives I've never met and honoring the others I have loved and lost, warts and all.
I have two beautiful boys whose lives I started to document before they were born. I have to remind myself not to spend too much time preserving the past lest you forget the importance of the present; after all, it's what gives you history. I spend time telling the stories behind these seemingly random objects - like an old wooden box that sits on the top shelf of our entertainment center. When I pulled it down explained it was bible box carved for our family in the late 1700s, the boys couldn't wrap their minds around the fact we had something so old in our home. I explained we have it because generations passed it down, trusting us to keep it safe and their stories alive for their own children. You see, it takes about three generations to lose track of stories, people, and events that have gone before you.
I hope you make time to listen to and record stories of loved ones, sort through photos, and write the names, dates, and relationships of the people in them. It takes time and patience, but I promise it's a journey that will feed your soul and countless other generations."
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!