Ego is not one of the reasons that I started doing a blog. I have kept a diary or journal before, but for one reason or another I had stopped making entries and I wanted to leave some sort of record behind of the experiences that I had had and the way that I had felt about them. It’s not that any of them are really important but I wanted to do something similar to the great diarists like Samuel Pepys and others and leave an impression of the age that I lived in.
There is also I believe an African tradition of leaving an oral history behind, a custom of telling stories that are passed on down through the ages in order for those who come after us to learn. I don’t know if it’s still in operation but I had heard that a group of people had set up a box in Grand Central in New York where people could go for about an hour and have themselves interviewed and their stories recorded for posterity. This, in a small way is what I am trying to do.
My grandmother has been ill for about 3 or 4 years. She is not a handsome woman, in fact she looks a little like Mandela, Nelson not Winnie and I have decided that I should try and get her story before it’s too late for either one of us. I am not sure what it is that I want her to tell me, I already know much of her life. I know how her father forced the man who impregnated her at 16 to marry her at 17. How some years later she and Oscar Greene had been sitting down to breakfast when they heard on the radio “Love is a many Splendored Thing” dedicated to Oscar from Eileen and of how he packed his bags and left without a word; granny’s name is Winifred. I have heard the stories of how she would then send my mother to her father for some money so they could both eat.
I have even heard the stories of how when we first met, when I would run up to her, spit in her face and scratch her. All of this while I was bow legged with a nose so flat that she would have to mold it with her hands in order for me to breathe. I have heard her tell the story of how she saw JFK get shot on the TV and of how she heard Jackie scream “Oh no!” It took me a while to figure that they didn’t have live TV in ’63 and even now when they show the Super-8 movie of the assassination, there is no sound, but then it’s not important.
What is important is that I get her story what ever it is. It may be of no use to anyone but herself and I probably wont even put it down. But still, I will have it and as long as she doesn’t start to tell me about how she ran dawn patrol with Hillary in Bosnia, then I will be happy.
All I want is just one more story.