When the memory of our relatives lives on…

Unfortunately, my family has never been interested in family history before. The project offered me a great opportunity to make a difference. I decided to record an interview with my grandmother because ever since I was little I remember her telling about her father and his participation in the war. Moreover, my grandmother and I have a very close and trusting relationship. We can chat for hours, share our impressions, for example, about the previously read book, and just talk about how the day went.

The interview should have been recorded on video. However, my granny refused to be filmed out of modesty. The preparation took quite some time. It was difficult for me to come up with the wording for each question. When my grandma finally agreed, the equally difficult part of the interview preparation process began. I can’t even put it into words how worried she was. When the camera was turned on, she had a dog in her arms. She stroked it all the time. Maybe in this way she was trying to calm herself down because she had never been interviewed before, let alone the camera in front of her face. It all had an impact on her emotional state. However, surprisingly enough, everything went very well.

Looking back at what had been filmed, my granny could scarcely believe that she did it. She cried, sick at heart that we can no longer be with the badly needed and dearly loved ones. At the same time, she was happy that their memory is still alive…

Her father, my great-grandfather, was a decent person. He was very hardworking, kindhearted and always helped those who sought help from him. He always used to get the job done. My great-grandpa was quite demanding, both to himself and to others. He was wounded in the war. As a result, he went blind in one eye and partly in the other. Nevertheless, he continued living an active life. He worked physically a lot. Carpentry was his hobby. My granny has known that her father fought in the war and was wounded ever since she was a child. This has affected her life. She had to help her mother with the household a lot. According to my granny, they had a large high-maintenance garden that needed pruning, watering, fertilizing, harvesting, and more. This burden lay heavy on my granny and her mother.

My great-grandfather’s participation in the war had an impact on our entire family. After he returned from the war, all our relatives paid much attention to my great-grandpa and tried to help somehow and supported my great-grandma by saying, “All that matters is that he’s back home alive!”. Little by little, everything has fallen into place and after so many severe blows and shattering experiences, which are hard to imagine, especially for the modern generation, it finally got back to the regular routine. My granny also helped my great-grandfather. Her task was to select the appropriate width on the ruler, as indicated by her father, and mark it with a red or blue pencil on the wood for further work. It’s been years, but the furniture made by my great-grandpa is still in pretty good condition. The chairs, a wardrobe, a chest of drawers, and a desk, this is what doesn’t let us forget about my great-grandpa’s skill and his hands of gold. I am very proud of him and I’d be happy to talk to him, say thank you for his courage and bravery, his willpower and his eagerness to win. At the same time, I’d like to show compassion for the fact that at such a young age he had to look death in the face and lose his comrades and friends. But regrettably… life is too short. And this should be born in mind.

Recording my granny’s memories was essentially important to me. This allowed me to learn the details about my relatives and their life, reconsider the history of my family and appreciate the close ones even more. I am determined to record the oral history of my other great-grandparents and pass it on from generation to generation so that each member of our family can be proud of what their ancestors did and appreciate what they have. My grandma was happy that the story of our family was heard and that someone took an interest in her life. This brought us even closer together. She got a chance to share what she had carried around with her for years. It seems like even life became easier for her, either because she shared the story of her entire childhood or because the family history will be remembered by future generations. Well, anyway, everything worked out great.

Let me give you a word of advice, try to spend more time with the near and dear ones. If this is not possible, just call them and ask how they are doing, whether they need your help, and how they are feeling. It is indeed very important!

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