My granddaughters are a never-ending source of joy for me as I listen to and see them grow. Of keen interest is to watch and see just what they notice! Their names are Darby and Wylie, two distinguished Southern family names to bestow. Does this mean they too will grow to appreciate and love antiques, artifacts, homes, and architecture as their grandfather does? Perhaps not. My own children seem to care little for the historic treasures of our household and view history with only marginal interest. One son knows all about the lineage of his stable of horses but nothing of his great grandparent’s lives. Yet the other son called one day out of the blue, delighted that he had inadvertently driven by and recognized his great-great-great grandparents’ home in rural Calhoun County. Perhaps after all there is some hope! I pray my grandchildren will listen and cherish family history, pictures, homes and the like but I certainly have no way of knowing.
Salem Church – Sumter Co., S.C.
The older of the two, who is in 3rd grade, came home one day to inform anyone who would listen that the South had several different classes before the Civil War, two being white elitist and slaves. She went on to say that the elitist were those people who owned slaves and made sure their wealth was perpetuated from generation to generation. Her level of disdain for this group was in no manner hidden. I wanted to scream and ask, “what happened to teaching students that South Carolina and in general the South, was made up of a very small group of prosperous planters, of whom few owned more than twenty slaves, and telling impressionable students truthfully that the region was made up overwhelmingly with those who owned no slaves and lived on small farms?”
Nevertheless, it remains a tremendous pleasure when the girls recognize that elements of architecture are out of place or a landscape feature is clearly wrong. The five-year-old recently remarked, “Papa what are those palm trees doing in the front yard of that house? They belong at the beach – they look silly!” Or the older one enjoying her first visit to Fort Sumter this summer, but very disappointed there were not more museum exhibits to view.
Years ago, when the website began, we stated emphatically that Roots and Recall can’t and shouldn’t take the place of a heart-to-heart talk with family members, a time of sharing photographs, memories, traditions and stories. But, you can employee it as a vehicle to record treasured data that extended family members will enjoy. One day soon, I too hope to contribute some additional family history to R&R. It would also be terrific if some of my own cousins would share their memories and experiences of the same houses, family members, or events that shape our heritage. We each have or had a unique chemistry with our ancestors so our stories would be similar but different. R&R provides a platform for recording and sharing, one that has thankfully been embraced widely. It is through sharing our history that it is saved, so get started! If your home place is not as of yet listed on R&R, even if it is not historic, or even if you don’t have grandchildren, send R&R your memories of specific people, places and times. Your memories and family history impact more than yourself!
Walnut Grove Plantation prior to restoration. Spartanburg Co., S.C.
Today, just as five years ago when R&R was a fledgling product, users can submit family memories through the Share Menu. At the time we wrote, “In the past thirty days contributions of over 900 images and manuscripts have been submitted from Texas to Ohio. It is nice to know people are listening and enjoying their opportunity to preserve local history.”
Any ideas on how to instill an interest in family heritage in the next generation? As one local historian recently stated, “taking my girls to museums and historic sites didn’t create the love of history in them I had anticipated”. However, don’t be alarmed, a majority of Roots and Recall’s users are indeed young people!
R&R NOTE: Thank you for the overwhelming positive response to R&R’s blog on the removal of Confederate Monuments. As you will see if you revisit the blog, there were numerous comments, of which a number have been posted, including a few that took issue with it. The original Facebook message has been read by well over 1,000 individuals of which only two voiced their disdain. We sincerely appreciate all points of view, but mostly, as Americans our wonderful right of free speech.
Of particular interest were the number of individuals who submitted links or data on their own family’s hardships during and following the Civil War. As my own great-grandmother stated in the late 1960s, we (meaning Southerners), are still being punished. It seems many Southern families hold strong memories of injustices to their own. Roots and Recall view is that there are two sides to every coin and as Americans we all should be tolerant and respectful of others differences!
From the Porch – Blog @ RootsandRecall.com – 8.31.17