I had a birthday a week ago. That event isn’t particularly noteworthy since I’ve had so many birthdays. I don’t mind being older and actually enjoy it when people make a fuss over me on my birthday.
Years ago when I was a runner some birthdays gave me a reason to celebrate. Many races had age group divisions with prizes. The older I got the less competitive I became but I could still win my age group when I was well into my fifties. Being older brought new rewards.
People say that being older isn’t good. They complain about the aches and pains and other issues that come with aging. I agree only a little. My knees are gone from all the training miles I ran back in the day. So I make accommodations. Now I ride my bike – less miles than I used to run and at about the same pace. But I ride with my wife which is a new pleasure. She never was a runner so whenever I went out for a run it meant hours away from her, experiences we couldn’t share.
I am nearing completion of a draft for my next book. The book will chronicle my journey to discover my roots, the lives of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Oscar and Maggie McMurray. They were ordinary people; Oscar a brushmaker by trade, Maggie his wife. For a variety of reasons, my mother obscured their lives. Through my research for the book I have recreated what might have been their lives.
I have also discovered what I believe might be commonalities about peoples’ beliefs, particularly as they get older. Here is an excerpt from the book.
“I believe that everyone wants to leave a small mark on the world, something that could tell future generations, ‘I was here’. They might leave behind an heirloom, something they have created like Oscar’s brushes. Their stories might also be their legacy. Tales of a moment when they accomplished a notable feat or created something worth treasuring, become a part of the family folklore. These events and heirlooms should be preserved so that future generations understand who their ancestors were and what they achieved.
A person’s legacy might be as simple as having children and sharing the family folklore with them. It may be natural that we want to leave these traces of ourselves behind, our family stories and the small changes we made in the world. We want to know that we made the world different because we lived. We want to be remembered.”
When this book is published, probably titled Remember Me, I will have preserved the lives of Oscar and Maggie. Maybe the book itself will become a part of my legacy and my mother’s.
Peter Stipe is the author of Finding Our Way; a collection of short stories, and The Art of Love, a novel. Both books are available from Amazon and from high-tide-publications.com and from Peter Stipe.com Facebook: PeterGStipe