Wednesday, December 22, 2004


When my father was alive both my mother and I pressed him to record his memories; all those stories about being young and foolish before and during the Depression, about being in the Merchant Marine during the war, about teaching in the VA hospital about being a high school teacher ... all those stories that so often had a point of some sort - to be interjected into a conversation as a way of making the point more digestible and more memorable. He never did anything about it and I've felt the lesser for that fact.

I pressed my mother to embark on a similar project while she was alive, too. Nothing ever came of the thought except for a couple of voice activated tape recorders; one for each of them, bought about 10 years apart.

Now they are both gone and, except for some small anecdotes of theirs that I remember so imperfectly, their memories, insights and life's lessons with them.

I have started writing down all of my favorite stories; those little anecdotes taken from incidents in my life that I love to bring into a conversation to make a point - to make the point more digestible and more memorable. The outline is now about 15 pages long and I add new things as I think of them. At the same time, I'm doing a little literary back filling; writing out some of the memories as I go along.

If I don't capture these things, however unimportant they may be for the world, no one will. I want to give them to my daughter. When I'm gone they will be a nice reminder - a reminder I wish I had of my parents and their past.

I don't think it's out of ego. I think it's out of love for the future that will come through me and Alexandra and out of a respect for the past - and a fear of forgetting and being forgotten.

I am not a grand player on the stage of life. I have not been at the center of historic events, important discoveries or heroic deeds. But I have been here and I have seen the things I have seen. I have learned things from my mistakes and I have learned things from the mistakes of others. I think it's important to share those kinds of things.