At 28, My Love for History is Finally Paying Off

Ah, history. The subject that bores many to literal tears. Generally, the experience most have with history is a bombardment of dates and names to remember, and an old, tenured teacher with a white burly mustache that talks in the dullest monotone voice. There’s no passion. Just another year of mandatory curriculum bringing on mass casualties to the earholes of every student. 

God, what a depressing scenario.

The beauty of history is often buried deep within the minutia. What every history teacher needs to do is take a little shovel and unearth what makes history amazing: The stories. 

Yes, stories! 

Specifically, stories that make history relatable. The common complaint, “Why should I care about history” would be far less if the focus wasn’t purely on the birth and death of a figure in history. I mean come on, the dash between those two dates has to have an interesting story or two worth sharing. 

For instance, we all know about the tale of Paul Revere. This guy who, during the American Revolution, grabbed his oil lantern, hopped on his trusty steed, and rode 12.5 miles to alert the local militia the British were invading. A story that’s told over and over again. But what’s never told is the story of Sybil Ludington. During the exact same time as Paul Revere took off one way, Sybil Ludington went the other. Here’s a woman that allegedly rode a whopping 40 miles in total to warn the militia. 

Paul Revere’s travels pale in comparison to hers. 

My point here is there are thousands of stories that live buried in the minutia of traditional history teachings. 

Quite frankly, that’s what I love most about history. All these untold and unfamiliar stories are just waiting for my eyes and ears to stumble upon. Every time I come across a person or event that I’ve never heard of, I get this magical feeling like I’m hopping into Doc Brown’s DeLorean and time-traveling far into the past.  

So finally, at the age of 28, my love for history, and these buried stories, is finally starting to pay off. 

At 28, My Love for History is Finally Paying Off

It took me years to figure out how to incorporate my love of history and stories into something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. But I finally did it.

What I’ve stumbled upon is a perfect blend of part historian, part storytelling, and part writer. I honestly never would’ve thought of this if it weren’t for my girlfriend Kacey. : Memoir writing.

I mentioned in an earlier article, well, more of an update of sorts that I’d be switching gears a little bit into the world of memoir writing. So far, I’m loving every second of it. 

You see, I’ve been sitting down with my Grandma for a couple of weeks now, and recording accounts and stories of her life. For every story she tells, I get that same magical feeling of being transported back in time. Except instead of Doc Browns DeLorean, we’re traveling through time in her red Chevy Traverse – red being her all-time favorite color. I’ll tell you what, seeing her light up as she recounts past experiences with friends and family has been an amazing experience. Quite frankly, it has been an absolute honor. 

I’ve always thought that we never truly know our family. I mean, from a parental aspect, or a grandparent role, sure. But we never actually get to know them. You know, things like what their childhood was like, who were the people they looked up to, where’d they get their values, and, of course, stories of partying and troublemaking that have been locked away for years.

The Black Banana Episode

Talking with my Grandma, one of the many stories that have stuck out to me was a tale about a black banana. See, when she was younger, she’d have to visit her grandparents. I mean, no big deal, right? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. Her Grandma, bless her heart, would always try and make her eat black bananas. Yes, absolute black bananas. Why? Honestly, who really knows.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of eating a banana dressed up as a black Sharpie is nightmare fuel. Don’t even get me started with the texture of that atrocity. 

My Grandma thought the same. 

Now, I’m not sure how long this black banana episode went on. Maybe weeks, months, or even years. But thank the heavens for my Grandma’s Dad. He stepped in and put a kibosh on the black banana episode. Witnessing the torture my Grandma was going through, her Dad simply said, “She doesn’t have to eat those black bananas.” 

The nightmare was finally over.

Now, fast-forward years later, my Grandma is confronted with the same situation. Except this time, it involved her own daughters, Teri and Tammy. After their biological mom passed away, my grandparents wanted to make sure the kids still kept in touch with that side of the family. So, about once a month, they’d be dropped off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. 

Oh doctor, they were not fond of being there.  

It got to the point where Teri and Tammy both didn’t feel comfortable staying with their grandparents and didn’t want to keep going over. Much like the black banana episode in my Grandma’s life, here she was confronting a similar episode of her own. Minus the literal black banana, of course.

She sure as hell didn’t want to see them suffer like she did at her Grandparents. So, she told her daughters that they didn’t have to go over there anymore. Like her Dad before, she put a kibosh on that little nightmare. 

Now, as I mentioned before, this is one of many stories that my Grandma has told me. And by golly, there are certainly more stories that had me rolling with laughter. I knew my Grandma liked to have fun, but boy oh boy, I can’t believe some of the things she’s said so far. 

Having the opportunity to get a glimpse into her life from how she grew up, to how she raised her kids, the struggles along the way, and all the stories in between, man, I’m loving every second of it. Getting to actually know my Grandma outside of being just a Grandma has been nothing short of an amazing experience. The dinners and the lunches at my grandparent’s house through this journey, and the many more to come I’m sure, I will treasure forever. 

I cannot stress this enough, in my eyes, I think everyone should do this with their family. Sit down with grandparents, uncles, cousins, mom or dad and just listen to them tell their story. Capture it in any way you can. Whether that’s with a recording or writing, it doesn’t matter. I promise you, preserving the memories of the people you love when they’re gone is the greatest gift that you can give. 

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