"That's where we met," Gramps pointed to the steps of the English building. He was picking me up from college to bring me home for the weekend.
"Tell me all about it." I smiled. I had heard that story many times before, but I loved hearing it again. It involved dance cards which I thought was so romantic.
I attended the same college that my grandparents, mother, aunt, and sister attended. Not only did I get my nursing degree, I learned so much about history from all the spontaneous stories that were shared throughout my four years of college.
One of my favorite stories from my father is how he rode his pony down First Street on V-E Day. There was an impromptu parade and so much joy. My mother's parents grew victory gardens and bought war bonds.
My roommate's father help to conquer Okinawa in World War II. My father-in-law was part of the occupying force in Japan. Both had many stories to tell.
While history books can be dry and boring (though I hope you use interesting, exciting ones), family stories are always fun! They are so personal. I loved asking questions: What did he say after that? What did you wear? What did you eat? How did you get there?
In my own family tree, I have a varied history of the twentieth century: immigrants from Germany after World War I, farmers, a civil engineer who worked on famous roads and bridges, a physicist who helped design bombs, a great-aunt who were creative in making money during the depression, civil rights marchers, soldiers, a locomotive engineer, sports fans, and homemakers. All had and have their own set of exciting stories to share.
Next time you are at a family gathering, start asking questions. Stories are sure to follow. When you get home, try to remember the details of those stories. Maybe you could write them down. As you hear family stories you will be amazed at much times have changed and at the same time, how much they remain the same.
The family stories I have listened to over the years gave me a fascination with twentieth century history. In fact, I listened, researched, and wrote it all down. Yes, I wrote a textbook that you will find interesting and exciting. It's full of stories.
HIS Story of the 20th Century progresses decade by decade with an fictional vignette at the beginning of each chapter to give you a taste of life in that decade. While all the basics are covered, you will learn about many people, situations, and historic events that are not normally covered in a textbook including: Welsh Revival, Boxer Rebellion, First & Second Aliyah, Balkan League, Nurse Edith Cavell, IRA, Kirstalinacht, Wernher von Braun, Eric Liddell, Miracle at Dunkirk, Haganah Ship Exodus 1947, Jim & Elisabeth Elliot, Brother Andrew, USS Pueblo, Idi's Amin's Reign of Terror, Roe vs. Wade, Homeschooling, Tienanmen Square, Rwandan Genocide, and Captain Scott O'Grady shot down over Bosnia.
You can purchase HIS Story of the 20th Century at Amazon. The E-book is available at PayHip or Currclick. HIS Story of the 20th Century High School Workbook is also available at Amazon with the E-book available at PayHip or Currclick.
Don't forget to listen to your family's stories.