“Why AM I doing this!”
This and similar sentiments are questions that I have asked myself as I found myself embarking on a project that seems to have no end. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I didn’t set any boundaries for it in the first place. As I write this in 2022 and it has been at least eight long years since I started this web site and still I don’t know if I have reached an end – if indeed there is an end to this. However I have not updated the site for a couple of years, so perhaps it is not the beginning of the end, so much the end of the beginning.
On many occasions I have asked myself why I am doing this and what is it that I hope to achieve.
During this time I have found myself obsessing over the smallest of details, an incorrect date here, a missing photograph there. I made it a mission to include any and every piece of information, anecdote, video or sound clip, maps or photographs that I could find in an attempt to make a more complete picture from the hundreds of jig saw pieces that I have amassed. A mosaic that can only be made sense of when viewed from a distance perhaps.
But what for?
It’s only after a few years that I can now look back and see a purpose for this web site and for the stories it contains.
Let me break it down into three sections: The Past, The Present, and The Future
- The Past
Without doubt my initial reason for producing this site, was a desire to hold on to something of the past. In a rapidly changing world, I wanted to collect up the artefacts of a bygone time and not allow the stories, memories, feelings and emotions of real people, who were living in the world we have inherited, to somehow be lost for all time. That included me – I also wanted to put my story alongside those of my family and my forebears. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this is ‘Oral History’.
Wikipedia describes Oral History as:
…The collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews. These interviews are conducted with people who participated in or observed past events and whose memories and perceptions of these are to be preserved as an aural record for future generations. Oral history strives to obtain information from different perspectives and most of these cannot be found in written sources. Knowledge presented by Oral History is unique in that it shares the tacit perspective, thoughts, opinions and understanding of the interviewee in its primary form.
It is the voice of people who actually experienced history, not history as written in an academic way. As such it is a dynamic and insightful method of viewing the past.
However, in recording these past events I have had some profound and sometimes very moving experiences.
It was a joy to record both my mother and mother-in-law speaking about their experiences, I just wish I had done this earlier with other members of the family no longer with us.
However, there was one evening when I was working late at the computer scanning in old photographs, restoring them and adding colour to them to make them look more contemporary, when I chanced upon a picture of my uncle George. He was my father’s brother, I didn’t know him very well as he died in