The history behind family heirlooms I fear is being lost through each generation. I'm sure you have something in your house which was owned by your grandmother or great-grandfather which you plan to pass down to your children someday. However what is the true story behind it? Why was kept all these years besides being a nice piece of furniture? Oral tradition is lost in our day and age. There was once a time which oral history and tradition was the only gateway to ones past. With the internet and multimedia we seem to have no need for that oral history, passing our stories on from generation to generation. However I believe that the loss of that tradition has lost us some of the great stories of our own families' histories. Recently a relative of mine sent me a handmade quilt for my new son to enjoy. The gift itself was beautiful and wonderful but more than likely would be lost, thrown out, or sold once my son became an adult. However my she placed a story behind the quilt, a meaning which has turned an ordinary quilt into a memory giving it emotional value. She reminded me of my great-grandmother who I had the wonderful pleasure of knowing all the way up into my mid 20s, and her husband.
My great-grandmother was a wonderful woman who used to visit my family every Sunday afternoon on her way from church to check on us and see how we were doing. In reality it was her loving way of pointing out that we should be in church too. Sometimes she'd bring us food but mostly it was to see what we were up to. When speaking with others they had only the most wonderful things to say about her. Many considered her their second mother because of how loving and gracious her company truly was. She cared for others, was a hard worker, could sew better than anyone on the planet, and loved her family through good times and bad. I did not have the pleasure of getting to know her husband, my great-grandfather however my mother could speak about him for days. She was very close to him and although I never had the pleasure of meeting him I know from their stories that he was a great man that meant a lot to his family. You see my relative that made this quilt created it in their memory. A memorial to a great couple which my son will never have the pleasure of meeting but can be told the story of who they were and what they meant to the people around them. A history of his family which can be passed down to him through an oral tradition. This quilt was very exciting for me because I look forward to the day I can tell my son about Joe and Martha, about the impact they had on the many lives they touched including my mother's and my own. I encourage everyone out there to seek out an oral tradition that you can start. Record histories of your family that are still alive and tell those stories to your children, or your children's children. Let us redevelop an oral history for our families and maybe teach future generation where they came from and who they are as an individual.