These personal stories are the real history of America. They might not cover global, life-altering events, but they show what life was really like, why lifestyles changed and consumerism grew, what people valued and what they shunned. They made mistakes, the same as everybody, and they did small things that helped shape the future. I'm eager to read these accounts and gain more insight into my family's history. I already recognize some personality traits that have continued through the generations.
I have an aunt in hospice care now, and an uncle who may be facing end-of-life care soon. My kids are grown and making plans for their careers. Knute's kids are well established and doing great, and our grandson is eight years old. There's a whole new generation growing up, and it's so interesting and revealing to see what they care about, where their energy is spent, what they imagine for their futures.
When we're young, we don't look far beyond ourselves. It's only as we age that we can gain perspective over the past, and envision the path into the future. It's only after we've made our mark on the world that we see the world clearly. Maybe our mark was helpful, meaningful, wise. Maybe it turned out to be too self-involved, or a downright mistake, a little scar on a tiny branch of the great family tree. But no matter what, we mattered, we influenced, and as time continues to flow by, the shapes that we formed determine the future path of that river.
When I was young, a hundred years was eternity, and anything that happened so long ago didn't interest me at all. Now, I find it hard to believe that Grandma's diary was written more than a hundred years ago, and her grandfather's nearly two hundred. Over all that time, our family's determination, tenacity, and optimism about people and possibilities carry through. What does the future hold? Nobody knows, but I know my family will rise to meet it.