Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Fine Cargo

“A man's age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man's age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The quote above is how I've begun Pop's (my hubby's grandfather, his dad's side) life history. After spending countless hours so far compiling the resources I've been given regarding Pop's life, I am beginning to see his life story unfold onto the pages that I write. So far I've used the timeline Pop made a few years ago documenting key points each year of his life, a scrapbook made by the family historian, internet research, and the memories and stories from Pop's loved ones. It's been a great experience so far, and I have a feeling it's only going to get better.

Today, my hubby and I had the opportunity to sit with Pop and talk more about the things he has seen and done throughout his 94 years. The picture above is from today. It was a great day. I had given my father in law a rough draft of the history last night. I wanted him to get a feel for what I had compiled so far and let me know what he thought as well as any additions he knew I should make. This morning, he gave Pop the same rough draft to look over.

What a great experience. We arrived at the house around 11am and from the moment I stepped into the door, Pop was raving over my compilation thus far. He told me how great it was and asked me how I knew so much about his life, even things he did not remember. He has been struggling a bit since his bout of pneumonia about a month ago and since has had his memory fail him quite a bit. He does not remember giving me the scrapbook or timeline. He does not even remember writing such a timeline, something that has been a fabulous reference point for my work thus far. Today we got Pop talking again about things he did remember, asking questions and listening to him reminisce and go into story after story about different things in his life. For example, my hubby asked Pop about his first car. He quickly responded without a pause, "I bought it in New York City, on 5th Ave". It was a studebaker, he told me. What beautiful details he gave today, giving me many additional things to add into my compilation.

Today was a good day with Pop. Working on compiling his life history is an experience that has already been so neat for me.


Sarah Turner said...

I love talking the the older generations. They have so much to say. Good for you for getting it out there!

Sarah Turner said...

replace one of the "the"s with "with".

Frank Bryant said...

I can't wait to see what you will produce. A person's history can be so compelling and enlightening.

Larry said...

Heather, POP has set in his chair the last 2 nights reading the first draft. He continues to marvel at the wonderful thing you have created. I've asked him if it is correct and he said as far as he could remember yes. I keep telling him that he gave you all the information be he just doesn't remember that anymore. But you know what the heck, he loves it and thinks it and you are wonderful. He even mentions that Kelly is helping do the research so he does remember some things. I hope you know how much this means to me and my family. I look forward to the final script. The begining and ending is beautiful but the guts is nothing but one man's knowledge which is unbelieveable. Thank you so much. All my love.
Larry McGoo

Mrs. McGoo said...

It truly has been my pleasure so far, Larry. A great story of a man's many years!

Laurie said...

Heather, you should talk to Larry's Aunt because she was close to her sister, Nellie & Archie (POP). They even lived almost next door to one another. Nellie talked to me about meeting Archie during war times when he was a Merchant Marine & she worked down in Mobile in the ship yards. Aunt B. would have details from Nellie's point of view.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the McGugans' to have lasting memories for generations to come of a man that has lived almost 100 years.