Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Remember When... Featured

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I recently returned from a gathering at our old family farm. The occasion was the pending auction sale for my brother who had recently sold the land in anticipation of retirement, so my siblings and I had gathered to bid the place one last farewell.

My Dad had established the farm in the early 1940's and my parents spent the next thirty-some years raising their eight children there before retiring into town in the mid-seventies. Dad continued to operate the farm over the next few years until my older brother decided to take over the operation in the early eighties. So as we assembled for the auction, we were seeing the collected paraphernalia of two lifetimes worth of farm life laid out before us. As expected, aside from the newer farm equipment and a couple of sets of old wooden wagon wheels, there was little on display that was valuable, collectible, or even noteworthy - no "antiques in the attic" here. What remained was utilitarian and largely obsolete.

As we explored the largely empty outbuildings following the sale, one item that caught our attention was a child's car seat from the fifties - likely acquired for one of my older sisters. This light-weight cloth and metal-framed contraption simply hung on the seat back and seemed, in the event of an accident, as being far more likely to provide a convenient launching pad for a child than providing any type of restraint!

The improbable design of the car seat caused a good chuckle among the older of us, and looks of horror from the young adults. This led to further discussions about the precarious natures of our collective childhoods. One of which was my oldest sister recounting the time she had decided to check to see if the car door was locked as they drove into town (it wasn't). She was fairly certain that she had picked herself up off the road and was back on her feet by the time Dad had stopped the car! My older siblings also recalled playing catch with me in the living room. However, with me being the youngest of the children by a fair margin, my role wasn't that of throwing partner, but rather as the projectile (again more looks of horror among the young parents, although I'm sure it sounded worse than it was). This led to even more reminiscences among those of us in attendance.

On the way home that night, I recalled a similar evening 36 years previous in the same farmyard where my Dad's siblings had organized a family reunion. As my aunts, uncles and numerous cousins - who had mostly grown up within a mile of our farm in the fifties and sixties - gathered together, the evening ended with a number of them swapping "remember when" stories in the living room. Naturally, many of the stories we had heard before, but that didn't lessen the enjoyment of hearing it anew. A few of us younger folk hung out around the edge of the room as one tale led to the next, until the sun eventually poked up over the horizon the following morning.

What is it about family and shared experiences and people gathering to tell and listen to stories that most of them already know? Perhaps it's because that each time we hear them we're in a different stage of our own lives and can relate differently to the stories (as with the young parents and the car seat mentioned above). So sometimes we take away humour, sometimes wisdom, sometimes caution, almost always pleasure.

So, who have shared your stories with lately?



Read 4371 times Last modified on Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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