“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.