Good day to you.
Do any of you own a black tin box that contains important documents? I suppose it’s an anachronism – people store so much online – but a folder on your computer or storage in the cloud can’t make the same visceral connections as handwritten letters and postcards.
I was putting something in the black box and spotted a birthday card with a painting of a blue tit on a sturdy twig. I didn’t need to see inside, I knew who it was from, my ‘ever loving grandma’.
It struck me how little I knew about her. I had looked for information about her in the past online and saw in the 1901 Census she lived with her grandparents. She was one of nine children.
It was common knowledge grandma lived with her grandparents but why wasn’t clear. She wasn’t the oldest or youngest. Maybe she was chosen because she was quiet and placid, not like my Great Aunt Lizzy, and not a babe in arms, like Great Aunt Ruth.
When I was thirteen, I tried to find out more about grandma, but I think the use of a microphone on a wobbly stand scared her off – or was it my list of questions and the warning notice on the sitting room door ‘SILENCE! RECORDING IN SESSION’?
Grandma remained tight-lipped like a toddler refusing to eat. I wished I had been older and wiser and able to draw out her story, by chatting and crucially, without a recording device to inhibit her.
Oddly,that’s part of what I do now: Legacy writing. I work on behalf of families to write about their loved one’s life, with their loved one’s full consent and co-operation. It is a privilege, often a pleasure, and always rewarding.
If you want to know more about Legacy writing and Life Stories please follow the link