Since the dawn of humans, all cultures have gathered together and swapped stories, supplying windows into who we are, where we’ve been, how we got there, and why. Over time, these yarns morph and take on the point of view of the teller and the perspective of the listener. The best stories are retold and replayed for generations. The tales become legends and the characters achieve a slice of immortality.
The hard facts gleaned from documents provide the settings and circumstances to a story. However, the plethora of data can only imply the colors and emotions. Dairies and photos may fill gaps, but not everyone kept these records accessible. We all have that pile of pictures we cannot identify. There are several journaling packages to subscribe to that prompt life stories. Listing the first jobs, the favorite movies and first cars jog the memory. If the recipient cares to write, intriguing details emerge on the page. Frequently, however, answers are short sentences providing the barest insight and engagement. Better stories are collected through a conversation.
I am fortunate to have a large loud family. Our favorite sport is to sit around the table, share food and tell stories about present adventures and past escapades. The essence of past ancestors, who lived well before I was a thought, joins the table. I feel I know the grandfathers I never met, my parents and their siblings and cousins as children, and the great grands as young adults. As a kid, I often hung at the grown up table to hear what everyone was laughing and shouting about. I noticed the way some uncles might add detail and how my grandmother’s emotional version of stories was rich and memorable.
Through the years, I have retold and wrote the family stories. My blog, Stories Served Around The Table, features stories I remembered and those that were recalled by family members. I am fascinated by the perseverance and courage, the sacrifices and gains, and the love and regrets that weave into the tales. These facets standout and become part of who I am. Through the stories, I find my heritage to be interesting, surprising, and fun. They deserve a slice of immortality.
I prefer to hear the story and ask questions to keep the storyteller engaged, and the details clarified. Oral storytelling enables the listeners to hear the tone of the story. It captures the gestures and expressions giving the story rich depth. The storytellers embellish their perspective. Frequently, versions of the truth are a personal preference, making the story that much more delicious.
How do you collect your stories?
Thanks a bunch for reading.
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“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina