Heritage Day

I must be getting old! When I am in a room full of individuals who don't know what I mean when I say telephone party-line, I Love Lucy, or outhouse then I am reminded of the fact that I have been around for a while.

This spring my thirteen year old grandson Jordan was doing a school project on immigration and because my grandfather came to Canada as an eleven-year-old orphan he phoned me for help. I was surprised at how many concepts I had to explain and/or spell for him because he just didn't understand. Try explaining what stooking grain, working as a Section Foreman for the CPR or homesteading means.

Over the next few weeks Jordan and I spent hours on the phone and I was rewarded when he said "Grandma, I didn't really like doing the research for this project but I sure like hearing the stories about my family".

Heritage is about remembering the past and telling stories to others about it.

A couple of months ago, I was surprised to receive an email from a woman who I had worked with twenty-one years ago. We hadn't had any contact since then but it only took a couple of messages back and forth until we were "caught up". She stated that she would like to see me again and we arranged to meet in Saskatoon during the week that I was there to attend another grandson's graduation ceremony.

Eileen and I spent four and a half hours in a restaurant talking about the past - the things we had done and the people who we knew back then! Sometimes one or two words brought a flood of memories, laughter or tears. I am so thankful that we could recapture a period of time that we had shared even though it might not be the least bit meaningful to anyone else.

Each August, we celebrate Heritage Day in Alberta. There are so many things that you might choose to do on that date:

1. Share memories and symbols of the past with others. Perhaps you have photos, memorabilia and stories that your family has never seen. If you don't share them, likely no one else will and the opportunity will be lost forever.

2. Participate in a special event in your community. Perhaps you will visit a museum, attend a concert or create your own event such as an old-fashioned picnic.

3. Contact someone from your past so you can relive memories that you made together.

4. Read a book, watch a movie or do an internet search that records the history of the area in which you live. I like old biographies because they usually tell about a person who faced problems and then learned how to overcome them.

5. Rest and just be thankful that we have a day off to honour people and events that led to progress that makes our lives easier.

Also, remember that today is tomorrow's history. Start a journal that describes your life so that your descendants will be able to treasure your stories long after you are gone.

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