Learn From Your Elders

There is much history and knowledge to be learned from your elders, especially your family elders.

The problem is when we are young we don’t have much interest in the history of our family.   We consider it mundane and not enlightened.  We think how enlightened can someone be that was born more than a half century before us?

Then we get older and start to take an interest in this knowledge of the past, this history that they have stored up in their minds.

Maybe we get a little snippet from someone in the family and realize how interesting and important it can be.

You may get a taste of this history while you are at the funeral of a relative.  You hear something you never knew.  Now they are gone along with their stories.  You say to yourself “I wish I had taken the time to asked them about their life.”

I first started thinking about this with my maternal grandfather.

He lived to the age of 93.  He was is pretty good health throughout his life.

He was a quiet man, very solemn most of the time and appeared to be devoid of emotion or at least kept them inside.  He was a frugal man to say the least.

As kids we never spent time playing and joking around with him, that was my grandmother’s domain, but we did work with him in his truck patch during the summer.  I enjoyed that very much.

He was born in 1912 and I never really talked with him about his childhood or about growing up and being a young man during the Great Depression.  I always thought that kind of conversation was uncomfortable for both him and me.   I’ll never know why.

After my grandmother passed away it became uncomfortable to visit their house even though I did a lot of growing up in that house.

Then one day he started telling me about the little town where we lived and grew up.

The town where I grew up was the same town where he grew up.  It is more like a village than a town.  It’s about a mile stretch along a two lane state road with some houses and a couple of churches.  Not really a whole lot going on.  It use to have a little local drive-in but that has since been closed and made into a couple of apartments.  When I was really young it had a little mom and pop type grocery store but that closed down before I hit my teen years.  Generally it’s just a stretch in the road where people live.

This day my grandfather started telling me about a building that to me had always been just a house that was broken up into some apartments.

At one time it was a pool hall.

A pool hall, I was amazed.

To most that might seem like an insignificant piece of history but I was fascinated that my little town had a pool hall in it.

After he passed I wished I would have asked him to share more stories and information about our town.

I had previously written about my paternal uncles and their service in the armed forces during World War II.UncleArmy

My one uncle served under Patton and was a sniper, another was a tank driver in the European theater and another was part of the fifth wave onto Iwo Jima.

If you know me you know my fascination with World War II and here were three living historians and I never once talked to them about it.  What a squandered opportunity to get some first hand insight into World War II and now they are gone.

I guess that is just the nature of youth.  Those before you grow up in the stone age.  What do they know about our highly evolved and enlightened lives.

That’s how you feel until someone younger feels the same about you.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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