Sunday, March 18, 2007

WHO ARE WE????

This Christmas, our son gave his Father and me a unique gift with a request attached.

He gave us each a hand held recorder with small tapes.

His request was that we take time to record our verbal history.

He wants us to record our earliest memory, our childhood moments, teenage years and young adult years.

How we met, what we thought of one another when we started dating. Our engagement, wedding and memories of the pregnancies and births of each of our children.

He has heard all of these stories before but wanted each of us to record our memories in our own voices.

This personal history of our lives will be passed down to the future generations of our family.

A big request but a thoughtful one.

I have been walking back through my mind to my earliest memories. Where we lived and how I felt at the time.

It has been interesting to visit the places that have been tucked away in my mind for so long.

My earliest memory is of being 3 years old and finding a ring in the gutter in front of our apartment. 

I remember being 4 years old and seeing Mother come home from the hospital with a new baby named, Peggy.

I don't recall all of the details but I do remember sketches from my early childhood days. They have made their home in my mind and remain there, waiting to be visited and remembered

Trying to remember my early memories made me wonder......

WHO ARE WE WITHOUT OUR MEMORIES?

My memories have made me who I am today. Even the bad memories shaped my life in ways that resurface from time to time.

So, who am I without my memories??????

I am the millions of people who suffer from, Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease, dementia and other brain injuries.

Who am I.... if my memories are gone?

I am still me but without a past, present or future.

Our memories shape who we are and how we act and react today to different circumstances.

Peggy has no memory of her past, her present or plans for her future. No memories to tell her who she was and who she is today.

I feel that  as her brother and sisters, we should  record our unique memories of Peggy. The Peggy we knew as a child, teenager and young adult. We must record and pass this remembrances to her daughters and grandchild. If we don't....The Peggy they did not know as a child....will be forever lost to them.

My memories are precious to me and to lose them would be unimaginable.

But then, I thought....

If you don't Know that you don't Know....Memories have no meaning.

So, without my memories.......

I AM PEGGY!

Who would you be without your memories????

I Love You Today, Peggy!

 I can say that I love you because I remember.

 I will remember our shared time together until...I think no more and I....

 am also a memory!

 Generations of my family will come and go, live and love, laugh and cry, marry and have children, grow old and die and become memories themselves.

I hope that one day, one of my great, great, great grandchildren will find some tiny tapes in a dusty box. They will take them to be recorded on the listening machines of the day and they will hear my voice saying.....

Hello,

My name is Mary Louise Ross Harris. I was born to Allen and Myrtice Ross in Fairfield, Alabama. 

I am your great, great, great grandmother.

I want to share some of the memories of my life with each of you. 

To all who are listening to this recording...I send my love from the generations before you were born.

My prayer, a prayer that flies over time, is that your lives are filled with love, joy and purpose. If they are not.....do what you must to fix it!

That is not a request but an order!

Here are some of the memories of my growing up years.......................

The fashions of the day, the cars, the world today and the news from around the world, my sisters and brother, my children and grandchildren. Their names are.....................

I want you to meet the love of my life, my husband, John. We were married in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a warm, beautiful June day and..........................

Life is shorted than you realize at this time in your lives.

Live well, laugh often, love much!

My Mother and Daddy were unique, wonderful people who worked hard all of their lives..............

And as my Daddy used to say to the girls and boys of our family............

I love all of you, Today!

Your Great, Great, Great Grand Mother....Mary Louise

PS.....

Let me tell you about my sister, Peggy!

Peggy was born when I was almost 4 years old. I remember..................

 

7 comments:

gravydogg55 said...

 HI MARY LOUISE,
                            THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY AND COMMENT.
  I HAVE JUST BEGAN READING YOUR JOURNALS AND CAN RELATE TO YOUR WRITING.
     IT IS NICE TO KNOW THAT OTHERS ALSO VALUE MEMORIES AND HAVE A DESIRE TO RECORD MEMORIES FOR OUR DECENDANTS.
    IT IS WONDERFUL THAT I HAVE THE TWO OLDER LIVING SISTERS AND CAN VISIT TOGETHER ONCE IN A WHILE.
     I LOVE TO HEAR THEM TALK OF THE HOMESTEAD WHICH I ALSO REMEMBER THINGS THERE WHEN THREE YEARS OLD. DEEP SNOW IN WINTER AND RIDING TO TOWN IN THE 'BOBSLED' PULLED BY OUR HORSES. THEN SUMMER WHEN DAD TOOK US IN THE MODEL-T TRUCK.
   THERE WAS A YOUNGER SISTER AND OLDER BROTHER WHOM HAVE PASSED ON TO ETERNITY AND ANOTHER BROTHER JUST OLDER THAN I THAT DIED IN INFANCY. I HAD SMALLPOX WHEN A BABY AND SURVIVED WHEN MANY OTHERS OF THAT DAY DID NOT.
      I LOVE THE PHOTOGRAPHY HOBBY AND TRYING TO LEARN MORE.
 I LOOK FORWARD TO ENJOYING YOUR ENTRIES.     SAM

wendy4145 said...

Ross had a wonderful idea for a gift....  

Bet those tapes are full and fun!

love
Wendy

mgmturner said...

I love the pictures, Mary Louise.  I like to look at the pictures of Peggy and see the light in her eyes, the light that you have described as having dimmed through her disease.

As I've said before, I know very little about Alzheimers and its related illnesses, but you have made me so much more aware of the destruction it causes for the patient but on a much higher level, the family left behind.

Totally unrelated, but I myself have been going back through some childhood memories (I am now 44) in order to get some emotional healing.  It is painful, but what I am finding is that some of the most comforting things have been for me to find old songs on the internet and listen to them - songs from happy times.  I know that playing songs for Peggy won't bring her memories back, but maybe if you know of some special songs from long ago that might help her find comfort deep within, you could play those for her.  That may be the wrong thing to do, I don't know, because I don't know if it would be distressful to an Alzheimer's patient to hear music from the past, but it was a thought and I wanted to pass it along to you.

Bless you for sharing this journey.

Gwynn

mslambersfour said...

Thank you for sharing these incredible photo memories of Peggy & Your sisters.  Mike and I laughed at several because we were there experiencing the good times that were always generated by the Ross Girls!  
Thank you mom... and I so look forward to hearring the memories you leave for us on your tapes... and believe me.  They won't be old and dusty before we will want to listen!
We all love you very much...

loisontheweb said...

   What a marvelous idea ... to make recordings.  I guess that I used to, but haven't for so long ... used to tape family gatherings, etc.  I'll have to start doing that again, & ask some of our older people in the family to do that, too.
    PHOTOS, too, can be such treasures later, as you've found.  But, sometimes, we just have to "take a picture with our mind's eye" ... or ... remember a loved one's voice.
LOIS

rjet33 said...

Great entry, Mary Louise!  I enjoyed the pictures and the memories.  Sorry I haven't been around in a while.  Life throws us so many curves, it seems.  ::sigh::

Blessings!~

Susan

wumzels2 said...

i think the gift was a fantastic idea.  i cannot afford a recorder, so i have a private journal that i will leave to my daughter with a way into it for her to read after i am gone, or possibly in a situation where i will not be able to communicate.  my mother passed away when i was only 19, and though i heard numerous stories over those 19 years of her life, i paid little attention to them because i was a teen and didn't feel it was necessary for me to listen to them then.  i would have time for them later, when i had my own kids.  but it didn't turn out that way.  so i have created a journal, with some pictures, that will tell my story, as well as my mother's story, as much as i remember, to my daughter.  

be blessed,

regina