A “Backlog of History”

When I give my presentations, I implore the audience to record their histories, get out those old photos, preserve them, etc. I found it interesting this week that as I was reading an essay by Cullen Murphy, Backlogs of History, published in the Atlantic Monthly 1996, I felt justified in my pleas. He had discovered an old hospital bill that his parents saved from the time he was born.

He writes, “I was struck by something else: that among all those decades worth of family documents my parents had looked through, the delivery bill ($186) was the only thing they thought of sufficient interest to pass along.” (I have my delivery bill from 1939. Yep…less than $100!) So what do we keep? What is important to us? What do we leave for the next generations, understanding that the amount of accumulated “stuff’ can choke a land fill if we let it? Murphy asks…”What should the policy be toward children’s drawings and report cards? Toward family photographs and wedding mementos??”

I maintain that the photos are most important. From them we tell our story. Below is a picture of my family at the Park.

Sunday at the Park. What is our story?

Sunday at the Park. What is our story?

And coincident with all that, just this week, I found, in an antique store in Maine, this early photo of Polo Lake at Roger Williams Park in RI. My Dad took us there to romp on many a Sunday morning after church and before we went to Sunday dinner at Grandma’s. I ask you, does this photo tell a story?

Polo Lake, RW Park

Polo Lake, RW Park

I can write stories from these pictures. Can you from yours? Does it remind you of your trips to the Park?

Let’s hear  your story. Is it enough by which we can remember and record the past?

© 2015