Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"public officials quarantined the business"

A student in one of my classes said he knew it was time to write down the truth about his life when one of the young ones said, "I know about your life, Grandpa, back when you rode in covered wagons and fought with the Indians."

I will be teaching a writing class for adults at Tri-County College in Murphy, NC beginning Tuesday March 5. This class is for anyone who enjoys writing true stories, not fiction, who ever wanted to write about their life for their family. This class is also for those who are beginning to realize their grandchildren don't really know much about their past. And this class is for anyone who has been writing about his/her life and wants to be motivated with prompts, with ideas from others, and wants to have their work read for feedback. This is also for those who want to publish their stories in magazines and journals.

On a recent trip to Florida, I visited with cousins, and we told stories about growing up, about our parents, our grandparents. We were fortunate to hear our parents and aunts and uncles tell about the history of our family. But in today's world, a man's children might live in New Mexico while he lives in Blairsville, GA. Families are not always close enough to share those stories of youth.

One of my uncles lost all he had invested in a store in St. Petersburg when another of my uncles, a young man, worked in this store, and contracted small pox, an epidemic at that time before a vaccine had been found. Because he worked in the store where fresh meat and vegetables were sold, public officials quarantined the business. No one was allowed to enter. All the meat rotted, the fresh fruit and vegetables decayed as well.  The owner had to walk away with nothing.

This took place in the early 20th century. The uncle who lost the store packed up his four kids and moved back to Georgia. That same family had lost their home in a flood and escaped in the night to higher ground. We wonder how some of our ancestors kept going.
Today a young man with a contagious disease would not be relegated to live in a storage house or barn away from the family with food delivered to him twice a day -- not in this country we hope. But that is what happened to my uncle with small pox.

These stories teach a kind of history not found in text books. And the fact that these events happened to people in their family, they create more impact on the younger members.

Every family has interesting stories to pass down to the next generation, and beyond.

March 5 - April 9: Write stories about your life with instructor, Glenda Beall, published writer and poet, at Tri-County Community College, Tuesdays, 3-5 p.m.

Call Lisa Long at Tri-County Community College in Murphy to register. 828-837-6810

Glenda Council Beall - author of Profiles and Pedigrees, Tom Council, and his descendants.

No comments: