My WIP (work-in-progress) tells the stories of two women, one who was born over a hundred years ago and one who lives in a contemporary setting. My contemporary protagonist inherits the home of the historical protagonist, and in the attic she finds lots of old photographs. And a man in some of those old photos raises questions.
When my mom died in 2010, we dragged out a box of old photos and sorted through them. And I discovered how careless we (my brother and I) had been. We should have gone through these photos while Mom was alive and her brain was sharp. We should have asked questions and written answers on the backs of those photos because some answers died with her.
I was in elementary school when one of my relatives bought a reel to reel tape recorder. It must have been the height of technology at the time. I remember being in my aunt’s home in Payette, Idaho and my grandmother telling her story into the microphone. I wish I knew what happened to that recording. I wish I’d recorded Mom’s stories on the digital recorder I own. I guess I always thought there was more time. Perhaps I thought Mom would live forever. She didn’t, and now those stories are gone forever.
If I had all the free time in the world, I think I would do nothing but research my family roots, track down the stories I never heard, discover the relatives I never met. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of free time. But maybe someday….
No, don’t wait. Ask the questions. Learn the stories. Do it now.