How many of us have fond memories of sitting on the lap of a parent, auntie, or grandparent, listening carefully and closely not to miss a word of their experiences, memories, and life stories? We didn’t know it then, but they told us their stories for a reason–so that we may learn from their experiences and to teach us about our family, our traditions, shared customs, and moral values. They wanted to share their memories with us.
As adults, we now realise the importance of these stories, especially now that so many of our elders are no longer with us. Only now do we fully appreciate our grandparents’ memories and stories.
And what about all those wonderful old photographs they would show us as they told their stories. They would tell us who the people were, where it was taken and why it was taken. But how often was there nothing written on the back to preserve this information.
Our museum also has a quite large collection of old photogaphs of people and places with nothing to identify them. Without knowing who or what they are they are just pretty photographs. It can take a lot of detective work to finally identify the subject.
Sometimes we are the only ones who remember such stories, and as time goes by it becomes harder for us to recall their rich detail and colorfulness. Unfortunately, we carry these memories in our hearts and minds, but too often we do not pass them on. We think: Who wants to hear these old stories?
We do, because we know that a story not told is a story not heard. But if we do not take the time to listen and capture and preserve these life stories, they will most certainly disappear. Without stories, we have no memories.
As any family historian can tell you, the loss of all this information can leave a large gap in their family history.
One of the aims of our Society is to preserve these stories – whether they be your story or stories your relatives have told you – it is these tales of everyday experiences that breath life into the history of our suburbs and tell us how things have changed over the years.
Do you have a story to tell? Our Oral History Committee would love to hear from you to arrange a taped interview or, if you don’t feel comfortable talking on tape, you could write your story for us. Why don’t you drop by our museum any Wednesday or Saturday just to have a chat about your memories.