When I was a child, without fail each birthday I would receive a card from Great Aunt Dorothea. She was, in fact, my Great Great Aunt and to my knowledge I never met her. Separated by distance and generations, I may never have known anything about her were it not for my Uncle Bob.
Bob was my grandfather’s brother who decided to write the story of our family using records, letters, diaries, photos and the memories of living relatives. He spent his time turning these personal histories into books which he printed and bound for any of the family who wanted one. He wrote two volumes and was working on the third when he passed away.
I could retell the stories here, my forebears lived through dynamic and uncertain times. Aunt Dorothea and her brothers were scattered across the globe, living diverse lives yet still connected through their letters. Letters filled with every day life, news, grief, hopes and tigers. Letters which put me to shame in an age when I can contact my family in myriad ways yet rarely do. Letters asking for advice on conception signed ‘would be mother of six’ which make me smile and yearn for the very same number.
While I may dream of turning my recipes into a cook book or of penning a novel; if my words could reach anyone I hope they reach down the generations. I hope our every day is as fascinating in eighty years time as I found the lives of the generations before me. I hope I make the leap from obscure relative into their hearts, the way Dorothea and her brothers are in mine. This is my time capsule for them.
Oh, and if you’re reading this: there’s nothing wrong with Uncle Monty, that’s just the way he smiles.