My great uncle, Wayne (Dobby) Hamilton, at the end of his life, recorded tapes for our family of his life. Just what he remembered, little stories we would have never known if he hadn't taken the time to record them.
He did these tapes before his death in 1999. They were recorded on cassette tapes, and we all made copies and laughed and cried as we heard about who we really were. Then we all put them up and kind of forgot about them.
For Christmas, my brother, who is pretty quiet and does not often talk about emotion, (this runs in our family, on the Hooker side ;)) made me another copy of these tapes. True to form, without a word he handed me the one thing that no one else could and that meant more to me than anything else I can imagine. I believe his exact words were "No big deal. But I can't find tape #3". This caused a ripple effect throughout Missouri as me, my aunt and my uncle all started searching through our boxes of memorabilia for the elusive tape # 3, which beckoned to us like a mermaid to a sailor over the waves. Going through your boxes is a good thing to do at least every 5 years, especially if you don't move. You might want to block out some time, as about 2 hours in you will have torn apart your attic/basement/garage/closet and the entire room will be laid in piles that you will not want disturbed for (possibly) quite some time. You will not be able to call that progress, but you will justify it in the name of History. You will be doing the right thing. Get busy.
So happy and excited was I that I dared listening to them again, even without Tape # 3 . This time I took notes, and it quickly became obvious to me that these tapes needed to be put down word for word in permanent form.
I found a man here in town, a musician and sound man, to put these tapes on CD for me and am going to transcribe them. If you have anything like this, I strongly urge you to contact John Thomas Productions in Brookfield, Mo. You can find him on facebook. I cannot tell you what it will mean to you to have it in a form that you will be able to keep safe for generations to come.
Today I got the elusive tape # 3 from my aunt Linda (way to be a pack rat Aunt Linda!!) and dropped it off along with the family tree that my grandmother completed in the 1970's to be put on a CD also, and picked up the CD's of the tapes we have so far. I have them downloaded onto my computer and am going to start transcribing them word for word. I also have a rubber trunk full of old pictures that have come to me down through the generations. Mostly, I must say, because no one else was interested and not even polite enough to pretend to be interested. That is all right. That is actually normal. In my experience you have to raise a couple of kids before you start to care who you are, let alone wonder where you came from. This is called "maturing" and it will happen to you, probably in your 40's, but I personally believe everyone has their own time line for this. It's all written out in God's plan for your life. You will have to take my word for this.
This brings me to the MEDICATION headline for this post.
There is a tendency in this country to over medicate ourselves, in my opinion. There is also a malady called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It's real. I have it and so do other member's of my family. It's from not getting enough Vitamin D, that's what the Doctor will tell you. Anyone else will tell you that winter is very hard and depressing to get through. It is all the same thing. They make medication for it and I do not fault anyone for taking anything that helps them, as long as they have paid close attention to the side effects.
However, it occurs to me that everybody is "depressed" because we have such easy lives now. With all these scenes from the depression running through my mind, it occurs to me that depression is something that is actually a luxury to have. Don't you think that during The Great Depression people were "depressed"? "PROBABLY!" the voice in my head yells, "But when you are spending all your energies on just surviving another day, they didn't really have the TIME to be "depressed"". Believe it or not, it was about the least of their worries. Were there some alcoholics? Oh hell yes! But the point is, depressed or drunk, they still got up every day and did what they had to do. They did not have the option of being "depressed". Good thing they didn't or we may never have gotten as far as we have in this country.
I think the voice in my head is dead on. With 4 children I have always said that I had a nervous breakdown with my name on it, and as soon as I got time I was going to take it. I was serious, but guess what? As usual, God had other plans, and since I didn't ever find the time to have the nervous breakdown because every day I had exactly what I needed to do right in front of me, what do you know? I made it. I made it without having a nervous breakdown. This is partly because of my practically famous stubborn streak, and I am sinfully proud of it, and I think I have the right to be. It has always worked for me. "Work" has always worked for me, and it turns out that this may indeed be in my genes. You are going to be amazed at what my ancestor's lived through, and I am pretty certain you will be surprised what yours lived through too, once you start digging. Get busy! This is how people survived before they made a pill for that!!
There is a pill for everything now. Please, please pay close attention to those side effects. They can kill you. I'm pretty sure this is actually the plan now, so that trial lawyers can glean huge settlements after you die, giving every person who is still living $29.95 each, while the trail lawyers made several million dollars. No, I am not paranoid. Check it out. You will be disillusioned and possible terrified, but you will no doubt live long enough to be both of those things as long as you take the bait.
I think our world has had it so easy for so long that we have forgotten how to be tough and keep going. I think this is NOT an aspect that we can survive without. I don't blame us, but I think we have almost forgotten why we have been so lucky. I mean, everybody has a house. We flip a switch and have light. Hot water has been taken for granted for, what, a hundred years? There is central heating and air. We could all donate at least 100 pounds of clothes or household goods and NEVER KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. Are we lucky or what? It takes a lot of nerve to be "depressed" when you think of it this way. Start thinking, and you can just go right ahead and count your blessings, because you have a lot, especially if you live in America. If you travel to other countries, you already know this. If you don't travel to other countries, take my word for it. Or go ahead and travel, just be prepared to be "depressed" and there could be a fair amount of shame there too, because you did not even know you had it so good.
Look around at the old people you know. Have you ever noticed how long most farmers live? I think they live so long because the have to GET UP, every single day, rain, shine, blizzard, whatever (!) and keep going. They have no choice, and this gets them through. Staying in bed is not an option they would ever consider unless they are so sick they cannot get out of bed. This is the key, I think, just do not entertain any other notion, because once you let yourself get down, somebody will probably take care of you and while you may need that for short periods, if you don't hang on to your will to be independent, you just may not have that option anymore. By then you will be on a pill, which may or may not help, and if you give up they will keep you on those pills, plus more, and it just goes downhill from there. When I die, I plan for it to be from natural causes, which to me will be God's will. With medicine these days, it is unclear to me where the line between science and God's will is, so I just try to avoid science (!) whenever possible, whatever "science" has come to mean these days. You need to be an investigative reporter to figure that out, and I have other things to do.
So, this year, if winter ever gets here, and I am sure it will, I have a plan. I am going to be transcribing my family history and putting it together and scanning pictures until I doubt I will even know it's winter unless I go outside. It's my plan, and I'm sticking to it.
Yeah, I'm stubborn, it's the way God made me, plus I come from a long line of fiercely loyal and independent people, who no matter how hard things got, kept on a keepin' on. In the end I think it's all anyone can do. Good luck, and get busy!! Your kids will need to know this someday and you may not still be here to tell them the good stuff!!