June 3, 2013

Tapping into wisdom...

One of the first objectives on my quest to write a book was to interview elderly family members and friends. I wish I had started when my parents, aunts, and uncles were still alive. Throughout my life, I had heard many family stories that were fascinating, sometimes even unbelievable, but now I set out in search of the truth. We all have skeletons in our closet that we are not ready to let out; however, the older the person, the more likely they will share the facts. Of course there are those that take their stories to the grave.

The first person I had interviewed was my father’s best friend of over ninety years. My Uncle, as I had called him even though we shared no blood, was living in Florida and I was living in New Jersey so I had to make the most of our time together. What a gift it was to visit this ninety-eight year old gentleman, brimming with wisdom, and listen to pieces of his lifetime. He was lucid, talkative, and he never stopped smiling for the six hours I was there. He was an amazing man, motivated by an amazing work ethic and love of life. His glass was always half full, probably with wine, but it was half full nonetheless. I know now why he and my father were best friends; they shared the same passion for life and the people around them. I guess I had always known that, but it became so much more prevalent. They looked to the future with appreciation instead of apprehension, because “every day you’re alive is a beautiful day.”
Many times I reflect back on that day and how fortunate I was to have had that opportunity. It is a memory I will always cherish. My Uncle’s stories reignited my admiration for what our ancestors had endured and accomplished, and I left there even more determined to get their stories told.

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