Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Boat

The Boat by susanvg
The Boat, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I went to an event yesterday - the launch of a book and DVD Mapping Memories. It is a collection of stories by refugee youth using a variety of media tools. It pushed me to start scanning photographs I have in a large box from my parents.

Both my parents died over 10 years ago. Some of the photographs (on my mother's side of the family) go back to the 1800s. My goal is to create DVDs for the grandchildren so that I can share what I know of my parents' story with them. Unfortunately, I never really sat down with my parents to hear the stories behind the photographs. And many photographs, though interesting to look at, are meaningless to me as I don't know the identity of the people in them. The photograph above was taken on the boat on which my mother immigrated to Canada with her parents, grandfather and some other relatives. She is the youngest in the photograph.
Yale and Sheva
My grandparents

Now, with air travel, Skype, telephones, when people move from one part of the world to another they can easily stay in contact with those left behind. People who immigrated in the early 1920s stayed in touch by letters which could take some time to be delivered. I admire their courage and hope at starting over in a new place.
My Great-grandfather

I think it is important to collect stories, to know where we came from and to learn about daily life of the people who came before us. Too much of history that we are taught is only about wars and conquests. We need to know about the social history - the trials, the triumphs and the day to day realities.

1 comment:

  1. I love your family photos, Susan. I have a wall of old photos in my house - both from my husband's ancestors and my own. I have a special birth certificate given to me by his grandmother from 1856 written in German but issued in Pennsylvania (where there were many Dutch and German settlers). Only one of my children seems interested in these old artifacts of our history.