I encourage you to find family heirlooms, photographs, letters, and any other items that connect you to earlier generations. Talk to those older family members who can give the stories behind the items you find; who can tell you who the people are in the old photos and what the occasion was. Without context from a parent or grandparent, an old water pitcher is just an old water pitcher. With context, that simple object may represent an epic immigration journey, privation during the Great Depression, or sacrifice during war time. Seniors, whether they are grandparents, parents, aunts or uncles, get eased out to the peripheries of family conversations and events because they have difficulty participating with disabilities and age. Keep these loved ones included. They deserve it. When interviewed about personal and family stories connected to items and photos, they can feel that sense of joy and pride from those landmark events in their lives; and celebrate important figures they lost so many decades ago. While you are making them feel happy by simply including them in conversation, they are doing so much more for you and your ongoing family by giving you information that would have otherwise been lost forever. Before that interview, make sure you find the family heirlooms, whatever form they take, perhaps in the living room, or in the bedrooms, maybe in the garage, even in the attic, or just perhaps in A Box in the Basement.
A Box in the Basement