Remembering Our History

All around us, every day, history streams by in a fascinating whirl of old people, older buildings, or even the person sitting next to us on the bus.  And we ignore it.  We rush in and out of the old post office, slip past the doddery lady on the sidewalk, and even forget to ask our family elders about their past until it’s too late.  For the most part we don’t care.  Until we lose someone and experience that fleeting moment when we think to ourselves, “Oh, I have to ask Mom about that first house we lived in.”  Before the thought is even completed, we realize we can’t as Mom is gone.

Last June I got the chance not to forget, and I even had my camera along to make a video of my 90-year-old aunt, Helen Lumb, speaking to the last ever graduating class of Beachville Public School.  My nephew, Noah, was in that class, and my Aunt Helen had spent her first two years of school there, 85 years before, a fitting link between them and the school.

Helen Lumb grew up in the Beachville area, was a stellar scholar at school, almost went overseas in World War II but didn’t because of her mother’s sudden serious illness, and became a public school teacher, studying at nights to earn her Bachelor’s Degree.  My family prizes her for her wit and wisdom and loves her just for being herself.  She agreed to speak at Noah’s graduation and I got to video tape it.  There really was nothing I wanted to edit out so I have left in a couple of places where the sound is not perfect.  Please bear with me, as they are minor, and you will be entranced by this woman’s thoughts.

Please click here for the video or in the sidebar.

Have you had one of those “I’ve got to ask…”  moments?  What interesting tidbits have you learned about your own family history?  Consider leaving a comment below.

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18 thoughts on “Remembering Our History

    • Not sure about Ellen but when I click on the link it goes to my video. Love technology, not so much, human error. I switched the You-Tube to public so you should get the video now. Sorry about that!

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  1. Elaine, that is a precious video. Wow, she does get around well for her age. I love her sense of humour. It’s a little sad to think of a school closing like that. The elementary school I went to, the same one my mother started at in 1919 when it opened, is still going strong. I actually had one of the same teachers that my mother had, another was the wife of the principal that my mother had and there was one other teacher still there by the time I went there though I wasn’t in her class. A couple of years ago I attended the 90th birthday party. An addition was built on a few years ago and it made the place look so different. One of my teachers was there somewhere but unfortunately we couldn’t find him. I believe all the other teachers have died by now.

    By the way, what kind of camera do you have? I hope someday to get something not too expensive. I have a web cam but can’t seem to get it to work any more. It records when I don’t want it to and doesn’t record what I want. 🙂

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    • Hi Diane!
      Thanks for your lovely comments and for your details about your own elementary school. Sounds like a book, doesn’t it? Writers and their school roots or something similar.
      I have a little Flip camera which I bought last year for a great price and then my son told me Microsoft bought them out and the Flip would not be supported. Aha! That’s why I got such a good price. Nevertheless, I love it for its simplicity, reliability, and ease of handling. As for my webcam, I have a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 atop my computer and it is great for Skype calls with my daughter, etc. I even have plans to use it for short clips of me being brilliant to post on my site. So far I haven’t measured up. Ha ha.

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      • I was told about the Flip camera some time ago, but had not heard about Microsoft buying them out. My web cam is a Logitech – not sure if it’s Pro 9000, but it is one of the top ones. It works, but when I click to start recording it seems to take it that it’s supposed to stop. Before I start the recording it turns out that it has been recording all my movements preparing to do the video! And I can’t seem to figure it out. I have 4 videos on YouTube that I did with this camera, and had no trouble. Go figure! But I would like to have a regular video camera to do videos in Waterworks Park in St. Thomas, for instance, with me speaking or perhaps even reading a few pages of one of my books. I suppose it’s the visual creativity in me. And that way nobody needs to look at me. 🙂

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  2. Hi Elaine
    What a lovely memory you have created there. It will be a constant remind to all your present and future generations. I’m only poking fun, but was that one of those new fangled steam video recorders you were using 😉
    Nigel

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    • Thank you, Nigel! The older I get the more I appreciate these golden moments. I even have a memoir floating around in my head but so far I haven’t let it out. As far as the technology, see my answer to Diane above. I do appreciate your humour, especially as we watched the updated version of Murder on the Orient Express the other night and loved the old steam engines and train cars. It was so funny to hear Poirot mention computers and cell phones in that setting.

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  3. So true, Elaine, before we know the memories are lost. I bought one of those memory books years ago and gave it to both my mom and mother-in-law to fill in, so my kids have some recorded history. The rest they know from their Babcia’s stories.

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    • Oh, Babcia, now that word demands explanation or maybe exploration. And what a good idea that was for your kids’ futures, because they will want to know some day, particularly if they are as interested in life as is their mother. Thanks for sharing, Sharon. Just had a thought. You are so good at sharing; maybe that’s why your name is Sharon???

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  4. How wonderful that you have this memory to pass on, not just to your family, but anyone interested in the school as well. I know we should have taped our families stories before it was too late, but I think every generation believes their time was normal, so why would someone be interested? It’s not till you look around and realize how much life has changed over the last century that you realize that even the things I grew up doing, such as carrying a quarter (not a dime!) for the phone, are gone forever. So nice that you shared this with us!

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    • As usual, you are right on the money, Jessica! Somehow history of any kind is often not one of the top ten for young people. I was no different. I think now these glimpses back are like comfort food for me, something that makes my features soften and my heart rate ease. Thanks for your comments!

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  5. It is too bad that history isn’t appreciated until we get older. Old buildings fascinate me. They don’t just appeal to my drafting or architectural inklings, but to my inner eye that strives to see it like it used to be. That wants to know its stories.
    I never asked my grandfather about his time in the war and I regret it now.
    What a great video, Elaine.

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    • I love old buildings, too, Dale. I am especially curious about houses in the country that are all boarded up and wonder why no one took care of them, what happened to the family, what the house looked like when it was someone’s home. And I love to walk through old cemeteries, especially those from pioneer days. There are a couple within a short distance from here. I wonder about all the babies, young children and young mothers and fathers that are buried there. Why did they die so young? What kind of lives did they lead? And those who lived many years – what stories they must have had in them that will never be known. My grandparents had all died by the time I was 16, so I didn’t think to ask them questions before that. In fact, I spent no time at all alone with my grandparents – it was always a family visit when we went to see them on our weekly visits and I don’t remember much conversation about the past. I have learned a few things from stories my parents have told, but they are both gone, too, and now I have lots of questions I would love to ask about family history.

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      • One would almost think you’re a writer, Diane, with all the great questions you have! I am glad both my post and Dale’s excellent comments resonated with you.

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      • Diane, there is no saying that carries more truth than that a house has good bones. I love it.
        And I think those exact things when looking at the old houses.

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