It is important to live in the present. But what can we learn from the past?
A lot! And for anyone being creative in any way, well history can have a lot of inspirations!

I am someone who definitely enjoys digging in the past, not my own, of course! But I like learning things about the past, maybe coming from a family with quite a few history professors helps. Lately I have been able to see quite a bit of family, and they always have something to tell from the past. I am always all ears, but don’t actually write down as much as I should. Now Eclectic Alli has teamed up with Nerd in the Brain for the Go Play, Go Learn Challenge and this time the mission is to look at the past. So for me this is a sort of prompt to tell some stories of the past, once again not really my own. But if you are curious what I looked like 20 years ago, then check out my first day of school.

Recently I learnt a few things about my great grandparents, who are sadly not around anymore to share their stories with me in their own words, but they would, I think all be over a hundred by now… I recently found out that my great-grandmother was considered 3/4th Jewish at a time when that was not very reassuring in Germany. She was born just a little bit after the Titanic sunk, and I think for her generation she was quite a modern woman. She went to University at a time when many women did not do so, she actually made it to a Doctoral title (sorry don’t know what field).

Only a few days ago, my grandmother’s sister (the grandmother I wrote about on Ula’s blog a few weeks ago) spend her 73rd birthday with us, and she told us some things about her mother, my great grandmother. Who had not been to university, but who had gone all the way to the Abitur (German high school diploma), which was still quite rare at the time. I don’t know much about my grandmother’s mother, but when it comes to her father’s family, then I guess I could sit down and write books (a few have actually been written). That is mainly because my grandmother’s cousins organise a family reunion every 2 years, and each time bits and pieces of the family history a shared (a lot of material for someone like myself who is constantly all eyes and ears for stories).

I feel like I should kick myself a lot lately, because now I realise that when my grandmother gave me family lessons, more than 10 years ago, there was so much valuable information about ancestors that I now have a hard time remembering. But, maybe if I have a look at the pile of old photographs, things might come back. Is it time for me to start keeping a diary?

Besides family history, I am completely hooked on Parisian history now. Each time I go somewhere I end up reading wikipedia for hours, learning new things. Recently I also visited some rather historic grounds, when I went to Omaha beach in Normandy. We walked on the beach, but also went to the memorial and to the American cemetery. In that area history is leaking out of every pore.


© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

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8 thoughts on “Digging in the past

  1. Neat, you know how they say if you don’t learn from the past you are doomed to repeat it….
    I have a treasure trove of stories and memories from my past as told by my grandpa though I don’t remember them as much as I should,
    I should have paid way more attention but I am writing it down, now and words written are immortal, yes? my efforts so far
    http://wp.me/p3NqTj-1E
    And
    http://wp.me/p3NqTj-1G

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is SO much history buried in those family stories — in some ways I was fortunate to realize how important it is to listen to it while we can when I was pretty young. One of my grandmothers died when I was in High School and I suddenly realized how much I could have learned from her, how much I wished I had been able to ask her questions about her life (she was the daughter of Polish Immigrants, the oldest child, who worked to put her siblings through higher education). But now those questions would have to go unanswered…. which prompted me to make sure I asked questions and learned as much as I could from my still-living grandparents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In family stories we can learn so much about our family, but also the time period and place they lived in.
      Is that why you challenged us to go learn things about the past?
      It does sound as if your grandmother was devoted to her family.
      My grandmother sat me down when I was 14 or 15 and taught me family lessons (she even dressed me up in an old wedding dress that was over one hundred years old and took pictures) she showed me boxes of photos that were from when photography was all new and told me that these people were my ancestors, or cousins of my ancestors. maybe if I see the photographs again, I will remember some details.
      I will have to question my living grandparents about their childhood, their parents and grandparents. But they too only know as much as they have been told.

      Thanks so much for this great prompt 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Write it down! One of my aunts is big into genealogy and she made a little book with stories about our family it’s amazing, and it’s really just stories with pictures added when she had them but what a great resource! On the other side I should probably be the one to write it all down… but like you I listen to the stories forget and then kick myself… My Grandparents are 90 now so I’d better start writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will have to write down the stories that I am told. There is a book somewhere at my parent’s house that is written by a cousin or aunt of my grandmother that I shall proceed to reading too.
      Good luck with the writing!
      My grandfather is a historian, so he’s been digging in his parents’ past for a while and to make things easier for his grandchildren (I guess that was not the actual motivation) he keeps a diary…

      Liked by 1 person

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