Sunday, August 07, 2005

My roots laid bare

My mom had a reunion of her father's family at the farm this weekend. What a delight! I rarely get to see my aunts from Ontario and Idaho, and the rest of the bunch I hadn't seen since at least the last reunion, three years ago. Some I hadn't seen since five reunions (fifteen years) ago, when Garth and I were just married. Several people have gone from "barely remembered relative" to "new friend" this weekend.

During the chatter, mom and her sisters and cousins got talking about war-time memories. Collecting foil wrappers so that the aluminum could be recycled; going door to door collecting donations of jewellery and other items, and then setting up tables in front of shops in downtown Toronto to sell these items for the war effort; in school, knitting squares for afghans for the soldiers. It startled me to realize that my mother's generation was quite young during WWII, and of those who were adults during the war, I have very few relatives left. All this leaves me intensely aware of how little I know or understand about that time.

Why didn't we study history in school?

On a lighter note, it was wonderful to watch my mom with her sisters, to see how they relate, even just to hear how they all giggle. As my sister noted, it was great fun to hear phrases that Mom always said, being said in just the same way by our aunts and cousins.

Now hopefully I can keep in touch with some of these relatives. But if I don't, I can look forward to rediscovering them in another three or six or fifteen years.

1 comment:

Aeolus said...

Speaking of the Second World War, I am the notorious Aeolus, who tried to provoke some intelligent discussion about terrorism on Small Dead Animals, but instead generated more heat than light. You might be interested in reading this post on my blog:
and then reading the Wikipedia article on the atomic bombings at:

Encourage your mother, aunts, etc. to write down or record their memories of growing up. My mother did, and it's provided me with a wonderful window into her life before I was around.