What Are the Chances that Folks Will Remember You?

What Are the Chances that Folks Will Remember You?

Maybe you’re not in the mood for this, but I’ll try to make it upbeat.

We all want to be remembered. For something. And though today, right this moment, we might consider how vast our place in FOREVER might be, it’s not that vast. I’ll use ME as an example. Who will remember me?

My family: my children and grandchildren. After that it’s a guess.

My friends. Yes I have many, my husband has many. But like Wendy, Michael, John and Peter Pan, we might ascend to the heavens all at the same time, or around the same time. Because remember, we are all of the same generation.

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO BE REMEMBERED

Be kind, be as generous as you can be and take photos! From the beginning of our life together, my husband took photos–of our vacations and family events: baptisms and weddings, holidays and birthdays. We have a cabinet full of photo albums and now many of those precious memories have been digitized so that we won’t lose them. You cannot walk through a room in our home without seeing a framed photograph of family. It’s necessary–because two of our children live a distance away and life gets crazy and we want to think of them and see their faces. It’s a form of connection. I also have a photo of the women’s group I was a part of when I lived in Iowa. I look at it frequently–I miss them.

Communicate: we have phones, snail mail and email. Though hearing a friend or a family member’s voice is the best, it’s not always possible to connect that way. A voice mail starts the process and so does an email–it’s like a friendly knock on the door of the person you want to chat with. It’s saying: here I am. I have news. Or I want to tell you I care about you.  Or I don’t want to forget you and I don’t want you to forget me.

Don’t Move. Stay in one place. This is hard to do. We live in a society of movement and change. In our years of marriage, my husband and I have moved twice–once with our children (though one was in college, one in grade school and another already working) it changes the center of the family, the HOMESTEAD. When we moved the second time, it was just the two of us. Now one daughter is near us, one in Boston and our son in Chicago–which is our starting place, our HOMETOWN. Chicago is where we were born and lived for many years–and thus there are people in Chicago who do not forget us. They are the Golden Oldies and if you’ve moved from your Hometown, you know that and you need that.

But regardless, you must call or write, visit and embrace. That’s how you will be remembered. We had many wonderful years in our second Midwest home, and I knock on doors with email whenever I can, people visit when they travel here, and yet I fear over time those friendships could be lost. Of course, now in our new home, we make new friends. Will they last? Will they remember me?

Become a Member of Ancestry.com or a similar organization. Talk about memories!! My husband has become the official family historian–and if you can become part of someone’s history, why yes, you will be remembered. He has unearthed photos and news clippings about my deceased father and mother and his family. He is building a family tree that grows bigger and bigger with births and with finding those that lived before us. No one is ever deleted. They live in our memories. What will be necessary is for someone to continue this endeavor. Not everyone finds history fascinating. But here’s something else to consider:

Someday you will be history, but only if there’s a living person keeping track. So encourage record keeping of some sort. You know what they used to say: if your house catches on fire, grab your photo albums and run. Now you need to have a flash drive or backup system you can grab and run with.   

And I guess, finally, make a name for yourself. Or in other words, get your name out there. Still with becoming so-called FAMOUS, there are no guarantees. You have to be truly truly famous to go down through the ages. I would love to publish my novels. Then, hopefully, someone would have a copy when I’m gone. But over time who is remembered? Shakespeare. Homer. Jane Austen. Dickens. Writers of literature in languages I am unable to read. Tyrants, kings, presidents, politicians, saints and sinners.

Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us 

Yes, this is a real thing, a book by scientist Sam Kean. He is fascinated with all things science and finds connections for us–between the LIVING and the DEAD. An excerpt: Even more startling, our breaths entangle us with the historical past. Some of the molecules in your next breath might well be emissaries from 9/11 or the fall of the Berlin Wall, witnesses to World War I or the star-spangled banner of Fort McHenry. If we extend our imagination far enough into space and time, we can conjure up some fascinating scenarios. For instance, is it possible, that your next breath–this one right here–might include some of the same air that Julie Caesar exhaled when he died? …Across all that distance of time and space, a few of the molecules that danced inside his lungs are dancing inside yours right now.   

Kean’s theories certainly connect all humans to one another. And we will be remembered as the species that occupied the planet Earth for thousands of years. But will some other species know that we were also the creation that destroyed it?

ONE FINAL THOUGHT

In order for humans, those that are famous, those that our infamous, those that will be forgotten over time–the earth must survive. It becomes questionable that we should strive to advance and change, only to allow some naysayers to condemn the planet to it’s final death. Yes, there is controversy, but if your painting or photo, your poem or organization, the building, the business you built with your name up in lights or glorified on a skyscraper–if any of that is to have meaning, the human race must survive on this planet. Or we can say goodbye to Shakespeare, Austin, Caesar and the rest–then, Oblivion. So we must strive to keep the earth healthy, for our DNA to continue on in some form. And to make that happen? We all need to fall in love with Mother Earth and protect her.

P.S. To preserve memories, you can interview family members and write down their memories. Or keep a diary. More about how to do that here.

Photo: Pixabay

 

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

The Bridegroom and the Bride.

“Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man.” ― Sappho

My brother got married. Yesterday! My brother is tall to begin with, but this wedding day truly honored the line from the Sappho poem. And the celebration of the wedding will continue on and on. Here is why.

My brother Bill is no ordinary brother–in fact I do not have ordinary brothers–my two are extraordinary. But this was the marriage of my younger brother who in his sixties has never been married. Oh, women had tried to get him to tie the knot, but he was looking for the mate that would share with him the marriage he wanted, whose own take on being married would echo all the “family” memories that make Bill an amazing, giving, creative, understanding person. And he found that bride in Rita. Lovely Rita we often call her, from the Beatles song Lovely Rita Meter Maid, because Bill has been immersed in the music of the Beatles since “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” Not only does he know everything there is to know about the group, but he plays their music on his guitar, sings the lyrics beautifully and has every album and song they ever produced. In his living room, Bill has a photograph with one of the Beatles’ producers, George Martin. His admiration for the Beatles definitely helped propel him into the music business where he has been successful in production and promotion for years. 

Rita loves music too! Good thing, though her taste runs more toward Mozart. Bill has written a song for Rita–it’s what he does for people he loves. It’s such a gift to get your own personal song. And on the wedding eve, my son Andrew, who walks in his uncle’s footsteps, performed a song he had written for Uncle Bill, with his sister, Christie–who wrote the most amazing lyrics. Many people cry at weddings. EVERYONE cried when they performed this loving song for a man who has meant so much to all our family. (Below, me and Bill when we both had more hair.)

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

A few years back–the joy of family.

Bill often credits me with helping to raise him, because though we are only three years apart, the death of our father when we were so very young created a bond. I did what I could to take care of my little brother and that continued on into grade school when we became latch-key kids and we would meet, walk home together and I would make him lunch. Little things, but they bonded us big time. Believe me, he has repaid me over and over with the love and generosity he has showered on my family–my husband and my children.

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

My daughters and UB.

Our son Andrew and Bill love to jam, to talk about music and guitar riffs and share their work. One thing about this amazing new bridegroom–he is never too tired, never too busy to give you what you need: advice, comfort, support and always love. Or he’ll drive you wherever you need to go, encourage you to strike out on a new pathway.

Thus it is exciting to see Bill and Rita beginning a new life together. We know it will be full of music and laughter. And Rita’s amazing cooking, which is often supported by the produce she grows in her bountiful garden. They will travel and watch the Blackhawks and the Bears. Life together will be awesome. Life will be full.

I raise a toast and metaphorically the roof, as I celebrate my brother Bill, the new bridegroom who is truly “taller far than a tall man.”

 

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

The Bride and Bridegroom

Photos, John Havey and family.