It would have been priceless if my great-grandmother had journaled or written her life story. It would be fascinating to read about her childhood and teenage years and about the loves that she had in her life.
It would be intriguing to read about the dreams that she had for herself, the reality she had to face in place of her dreams, and the struggles of her everyday life tackling her daily routine of maintaining her home and children in the late 1800’s.
I muse over the picture of Selia who looks like she had hours of laborious work and a number of daily hardships and struggles while trying to keep her family fed and clothed.
Unfortunately, all we have are the facts. My maternal great-grandmother, Selia Victoria Ogden was born December 14, 1848; married Ben Madden on October 14, 1864; gave birth to and raised nine children; and died December 12, 1934.
My mother shared with me that Selia and Ben lived in a sod house on prairie land near Kansas City, Missouri. When it rained, it would be miserable because the rain would drip down through the sod causing the inside to be muddy and damp.
They eventually moved from a sod home to a shack near the lead mines in Duenweg, Missouri. My 93-year-old uncle recalled that Ben and Selia were hard-working people and Selia was strict. He remembers in the late 1920’s his grandmother would occasionally come to visit and give him and his siblings a nickel so they could buy ice from the gentleman who delivered ice with his horse and buggy.
Recording her life story would have kept her legacy preserved. Unfortunately, all we have are a few facts and the perception of her from my mother’s and uncle’s childhood memories.
Keeping Your Memories of your life will be invaluable to your great-grandchildren years from now. You would not be just a picture with a few recorded facts but instead you would be an ancestor who turned life experiences into life lessons for your descendants.
Open up your laptop or grab pen and paper and start recording your life experiences for future generations to read. Start with these questions:
- What is the most important date in your personal history?
- What was the hardest thing that you ever had to do?
- If you could change anything in your life, what would you change?
- Was there one moment in your life that changed everything for you?