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

 

13 thoughts on “What Are the Chances that Folks Will Remember You?

  1. This is a very thoughtful Boomer Highway. Will we be remembered? There was a wise person who said if you can count your best friends on one hand, you have had a good life. It’s not about birthday totals on Facebook. Its about helping, holding, touching, loving and giving. That is what is remembered. And family, which Beth to aptly points out. Love ’em while you got ’em. And thanks for waking many of us up, Boomer Highway 🙂

    • Thanks for this, Bill. I do hope that I will be remembered for caring about people. That’s what matters. I won’t be remembered for a mansion or a yacht, but those things are not important to me. Now publishing my novel…

  2. Love this! My blog is my family history. Stories from my grandparents, parents and my own life. ‘Preserving our legacy’, I call it. I feel these things need to be preserved. I spent two weeks digitizing my father’s slide collection. 4000 pictures from my past. What a rewarding labour of love!

    • Yes, you are preserving your legacy and I am sure your father was or would be thrilled that you are doing this. My husband had slides from my two aunts who have died. He digitized them and shared them with all the family. It was awesome seeing my mom so young, my brothers and me all dressed up for holidays. We forget so much of our lives and photos bring us back. Thanks.

  3. Yes, and the best way for the earth to survive is for each of us to eventually die. I have no illusions that my presence here is somehow unique and therefore memorable. I find great peace in thinking about the end of my time here on earth. That is the way I comfort myself as I fall asleep each night.

    • Laura, how beautiful. I am holding on to your thought. We cannot stay here. This is a passage and buying STUFF to make us feel like we NEED TO STAY HERE doesn’t do it. Your life with your mountain views and wildflowers feed you. Our walks through the hills here feed us. This should be all we need if the DNA of our ancestors still flows through us and we remember we came from the land. Thanks.

  4. Hi BEth! Yes we were having similar thoughts this week weren’t we? My blog post about my DNA test came back this week and I’ve been working on the family tree ever since. I don’t have children so I have no thoughts that my offspring will care about where I come, but I do find it interesting to look back at some of my relations and see the sacrifices and perseverance that had to allow me the life I am enjoying today. One thing I find fascinating is that even though I remember my mom’s mom and dad very well–and vaguely remember my great grandparents, I had forgotten their names and really didn’t know that much about them. Doing a family tree has sort of made that reconnection I am finding valuable today. ~Kathy

    • Yes, finding their names and putting them down is great. I have some memory holes in my background too–like I thought my paternal grandmother spelled her maiden name Bauer, when it is really Bower. Things like that. My husband is crazy about this stuff and gets on Ancestry and is there for hours. He has found some really great info. Beth

    • Loved your post, Risa. Your writing is wonderful. I tried to win a contest with Hippocampus, but failed. I believe they publish some really wonderful things, like yours. Beth

  5. One of the things I regret most is not recording our family history – stories of immigration, 2 world wars, depression, loss, prejudice, survival, growth, determination, etc.

    As one ages, I find that this personal living history becomes more important. I implore your younger readers to get it while there’s still time.

    • My husband interviewed his mother, got words on tape before she died. I failed to do this, relying on another relative who did a family history. He’s gone now, I have his printed material, but once and a while I have a question, and mom’s not here to answer it. Hugs, Me

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