Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our Family and its History

Last night -again in Miami for a few days- one of my cousin's son approached me in the midst of the celebration of my brother's new movie Paraiso- and said to me: "I love reading your blog!"

This was one of the nicest things ever! Especially because he is one of my relatives of the newer generation, almost forty, born in Miami, and a parent himself, who does not live and breathe Cuba, like us of the 'older' generation.

And it was a wonderful surprise to see the grandchild of my beloved aunt 'Tafela' -who was so intelligent and stylish and influential in my life when I was a child- and the son of my beloved cousin (and godfather) Johnny, who is so intelligent and has such a wonderful wit, plus a huge dosage of humanity- enjoying these musings and rememberances about Cuba and our family's past. And also enjoying looking at the old photos, which seem to be so appealing to many who enter the blog.

This was a great! And a re-afirmation that at all ages, family is the thread of life. And if done well, we are all interested in our ancestors, our places of origin and our roots!

Thus the importance of our own oral histories!

It occured to me now that instead of video games and reading to our children and grandchildren fake stories of imaginary characters and monsters --why dont we write our little book of family anecdotes, enrich them with our imagination, make them fun and interesting ---and turn them as our own Family Oral History, and pass them from generation to generation, as the best possible heirloom? We all have in our lives some relatives who were little Harry Potters, as well as Cinderella's and Sleeping Beauty's, and Ninjas's and Batman's!

Looking back even to 'recent' history, my life would not be the same if I did not have so many anecdotes and so many great memories of raising my daughter! And the memory of every little thing that happened with my friends in Havana. And all the twists an turns of my always interesting 'love life'! And my many childhood memories in Cuba that I share in this blog!.

It is so true that I could not have braved the pain of losing first my father and one year ago my mother if these memories had not existed to make me so much stronger. Just now I realize the magnificence of stirring up our memories, and bringing them back to life as often as possible, so they can make our day to day even better and more enjoyable. They are wonderful 'life references' that help us along ---just like 'cultural references' make reading a book or seeing a painting a triple/pleasurable/experience.

I am sorry for those who have millions of these little great memories and let them sleep and get lost in their feelings. And they dont even pass them along to their children! Like that would be the 'normal' thing to do. This 'dry' existence giving our backs to our pasts, as well as the past of parents, and grandparents, turns life dull, so routine-like, so day to day --and lacking the strenght of a 'strong column of memories' of days past and gone. If people would stop and remember what happened in their lives -and tell their children about it!- they would be so much happier and fulfilled.

I have always believed in this....A mix of the past and the present= Life like it should be!