And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. -narrator in Fellowship of the Ring
Another July 4 has gone by, one where once again we drank in large gulps the blessing of family, wishing time would stand still. To paraphrase Lewis, it was a very pleasant inn.
As often happens, a small comment captured me: my oldest sister was shocked to learn that there was once a Kroger grocery in our hometown. She never knew that until tonight.
How much knowledge is lost with every passing soul; how quickly it fades away! My great grandfather fought in the Civil War; today we know little of him. My aunt, frail and in her 90s, remembers sitting upon his knee as a small child. That is most of what I know of him.
I can ask my mom what life was like growing up in the 1930s. She has presented many small slices. Some are even in writing or on tape. However, the intricacies of family life and the farm are lost except for perhaps a few anecdotes that will be repeated to the next generation. A generation or two after that, even that will likely be gone.
Look about you now. Think of your family, of your town, of your life. Most of what you see and know will be lost to the ages in 50 years. In 100 years, our children’s children will perhaps wonder what we all used to talk about, what life was like for us, what we were like. I’m doing little more than restating Ecclesiastes, but how few are our years.
I do not think history is lost. God knows it, after all. It seems not too speculative to say that heaven will be rich with history.