These story connections are particularly helpful in understanding a family member that we’ve never been fortunate enough to meet face-to-face. I was thinking about this recently as I considered how many family members I have met from my grandparents’ generation.
The answer was surprisingly few. By my account, I only remember meeting five of them. I’m certain my great grandfather Calvin Lehmer must have held me when I was a young child, but he died before I was 3 years old, leaving me with no memory of him.
Interestingly, even though my grandmothers outlived their spouses by 13 and 23 years, it’s the siblings of my grandfathers that I remember meeting. That includes all three brothers of my grandfather Harry Lehmer – Ray, Warren and Ralph – and two of grandfather Jens Andersen’s sisters – Hannah and Maren.
I have strong memories of Ray and Warren, but remember very little of the others. Without family stories passed down from previous generations, my family knowledge would be quite sparse given my limited personal interactions. While I am grateful for what I know about my ancestors, there is so much more that I would like to know.
What about you and your family?
Writing prompt for the day: How many members of your grandparents’ generation (or earlier) do you remember meeting?
Larry Lehmer is a personal historian and chief legacy planner at When Words Matter. He helps connect generations through their stories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.