When he was young, my son’s often asked, “what was it like when you were growing up?” He wanted to know what it was like to be a kid before video games and In-N-Out burgers. It was a world he could experience only in his imagination. His own world began when I was 40 years into mine, by which time computers had replaced pencils, ATMs had replaced bank books, and cell phones had replaced black, rotary phones. I tried to satisfy his curiosity, but there was so much I had to gloss over.
It was the same between my parents and me. My frame of reference began when theirs was practically half over. They didn’t talk much at all about their childhood. Then my father died too young and my mother began asking me if I went to school with her brothers. Their stories now sleep silently in a New Jersey cemetery, and the world of their youth is silent.
Don’t you owe it your children and grandchildren to keep your world alive? If you don’t have children, don’t you owe it to all the people who want to learn from your experiences? Share your stories while they are still fresh. Write them down if you can. If you don’t think of yourself as a writer, make an audio of them or make a video. But do share your stories before they, too, turn to dust, like the stories in that New Jersey cemetery.