The eact words from my granddaughter, Joss, when flipping through a very old (falling apart) leather scrapbook from my grandparents. The scrapbook contains letters from my dad during his college years from the late 1930’s. There are also Western Union telegrams from his experience fighting in World War II.
Stuck in the pages were a few pictures of my younger self. The “Is that you followed quickly by…wait a minute…who is that?” Great fun as a child starts putting together family relationships. Learning grandparents weren’t born this way.
“So my dad is your son???” That’s really weird. And the questions start flowing directed by a little pointed finger going around the room connecting the generations and relationships. With love and a smile, the conclusion is, “you look different!”
This blog is focused on a business called StoryWorth branded as “the most meaning gift for your family”. A gift to share memories between generations.
But first, I want to tell you about the best conversation I had with my grandmother. She was born back in the 1890s living a life we would not recognize today.
My Grandmother’s Story
I had a driver’s permit back in the 1960s and would drive my dad through city streets (Rochester, New York), across town every Sunday to visit my grandmother to practice my city driving.
One day, she shared a story from the early 1900s. As a young girl, she was out riding a horse and in a mood of rebellion (which happened rarely in her long life) switched from riding side saddle (which was the custom for girls at the time) and decided to swing her leg around to ride like the boys. Obviously a much better way to ride a horse. But a moment of cherished rebellion.
In those days, girls wore long dresses every day. NEVER pants! Must have been part of the reason for the ladylike style of riding that was required for her.
She lived a life as a dutiful minister’s wife who spent many years as a missionary in Brazil where my father and her children were born. Her oldest child, a daughter, passed away in Brazil. My dad spoke of a desire to return to Brazil to find where she was buried. She lived a life of sacrifice. And likely a life of judgment as the minister’s wife.
My reaction to her story was “way to go Gramma!” A reminder to me that she was once youthful with a spirit to have fun.
A snapshot of lives from the early 1940s
Photo from left: Rev. Albert McClements (my wise grandfather who delivered fiery and long sermons), Florence McClements (the conservative horseback rider and proper minister’s wife), Edith Macpherson (the not so conservative grandmother who loved working in the business world), Jean McClements (a young bride about to say goodbye to her husband after wedding for years because of World War II), George McClements (a new husband ready to board a ship to cross the Atlantic and defend his country).
Ages in this photo: Grandparents in their early/mid-fifties and parents 21/23 years old.
Sharing stories today
My 2019 Mother’s Day gift was a subscription to StoryWorth from my son and daughter-in-law.
Each week, questions come through email. At the end of the year, we will have a collection of 52 answers printed in a keepsake book. Some examples of questions…
- Have you ever won anything?
- Who is the funniest person in your family?
- Describe one of your most memorable birthdays?
- What is one of the bravest things you have ever done and what was the outcome?
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? (the answer to this was captured in a photo)
- Are you more like your mother or father? In what ways? (Still thinking about this…)
Some are easy to answer and others deserve some thought. And with that hopefully comes greater wisdom and self-awareness with a better understanding of how quickly the world changes.
So, the answer is yes, Josselyn, that was me!
That was me at 20 years old looking out at the Pacific Ocean with a camera in hand! My love of capturing pictures goes way back. And this is long before I could have ever imagined the family we would become.
My hope with answering the StoryWorth questions is to share small bits of my life that bring my family smiles and understanding of growing up in a different time and much different world than today.
And to my grandmother, thanks for reminding me that you also were once a young girl who had those spontaneous moments of real fun. It was my favorite conversation with you!
Much thanks to Brian and Jen for this gift and the opportunity to share my life and tell my story!
Visit StoryWorth at https://www.storyworth.com/ and give this gift to someone you love. I am not an affiliate or in any way connected to Story Worth. Simply sharing a way to tell stories between generations.