Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Knowing your place

by Nathan Stout

Now I don't mean to depress you during your fun-filled daily tour of AccordingToWhim.com but I thought I would relay some thoughts I have been having lately. You might be inspired to do something or just consider your position in life.

My Grandfather (on my mom's side) died 6+ months ago (stay with me here, don't leave yet). I didn't know much about him. I mean I knew him, saw him somewhat often, I just didn't much of his history. After his death I figured I wouldn't know much more.

A couple of weeks ago his widow told me there was a box she wanted me to have that had some old coins and papers in. She thought I should have it so last week I got it. Inside this metal tool box was a treasure trove of items I didn't know much about. Yes there were some coins in there that I could add to my little collection but there were other items too.

The box was my Grandfather's but it was actually my Great Grandfather's. There wasn't alot that my Grandfather added to the box. He basically inherited it from his Father and didn't do too much with it. Inside were the following items:

Some old coins
My Great Grandfather's nationalization papers (he was a German who moved to the US).
Some one's baptism papers (I don't know which relative it belongs to).
The death certificates for my both my great Grandparents, and a Great Uncle.
A German daily devotional (I am guessing).
A German medal for long service in the military (my Great Grandfather's).
A German military belt buckle.
My Grandfather's purple heart medal.
My Grandfather's WWII victory medal.
A few pictures of him as a child and a couple of other people I don't know.

My point here is that even with this massive amount of 'clues' I still don't know much about my family. In some way this makes me sad that there is some great history here of where I eventually came from but I can't divine it.

All my Grandfather's family is gone now. He was the last. Who will remember his, his parents, and his 9 bothers and sisters? Me. I am about it. Sure my mom will remember, his widow, and my brother but that's about all. If we don't do anything about it when we are gone there will be no one to remember them at all.

What the heck does all this mean? It means everything.

It is the reason Chris and I do what we do. We are wanting to leave something. That phrase might not be in the 'According To Whim' business plan but it is there, lying underneath all the other stuff. If you watch Episode 1 of season 2 that's basically the whole thrust of Nathan's rant... wanting to be more than another person on the planet, wanting to be more. Some call it fame (probably Chris) and some call it legacy (probably me) but all in all we want to be remembered, not only remembered by some trinkets in a box in some one's closet.

I will do my best to piece together the puzzle I have and place more of a permanent record of my Grandfather's family and his place in the world but I want to make sure that long after I am gone I will still have some effect on people in this world.

Please send your Nobel Prize for Literature nominations for this article here...

2 comments :

  1. Hmmm. Have to give you props on this. For as pragmatic as I may be sometimes, I've thought similar things about how a family keeps the family history alive. A quick thought about fame and legacy. The history we hear and read is the history of the famous and infamous. I might write something about this at some point in between American Idol reviews.

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  2. Well your article helped me altogether much in my college assignment. Hats afar to you send, will look audacious in behalf of more interrelated articles in a jiffy as its one of my choice issue to read.

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