Don’t Let Family Stories Die: Wednesday Wisdom

Writing* * *

I like to reminisce with people I don’t know. ~ Steven Wright.

Did the aforementioned quote make you giggle just a little? That quirky quote comes from comedian Steven Wright. He used to make me laugh until I cried. Statements like, “I was walking my dog around the apartment…on the ledge,” and “I’m writing a book; I’ve got the page numbers done,” using his dead-pan voice and stoic glare could get my father and me going. We found the guy hilarious.

See what I did? I just reminisced about something. Good Lordy.

That actually was a deliberate transition; putting all the silliness aside, my friend Maribeth suggested I write a post about the importance of reminiscing during the holidays.

I decided to write just a little about its importance since I consider myself and sentimentalist and expert reminiscer.

Here’s my story:

I remember being a kid and sitting around the dining room table at my grandmother’s house. We would eat and then sit there for hours talking…all of us talking. We lived in Maryland and our extended families were all in New Jersey. The fond memories I have of us all sitting around that table will stay with me. Though we lived hours away from our grandparents, my brother and I had a wonderful attachment to them. We loved them and they loved us. Our time together was precious. We would tell jokes and stories. We would eat Italian food and cookies, and I wouldn’t trade one moment of that time because I hold it so dear to me.

What I did miss out on, however, was writing those stories down. I wish I had done more of that, especially since none of my grandparents are alive today, nor have they been around for a very long time. Part of my heritage died when they did. Had I known my life would take the turn it did and that I would fall in love with writing as much as I have, I would have taken the time to write down the stories, the recipes of my grandmother, and the jokes and funny things that we did.

HomeStoryI would have liked to have kept all that in some written form. These types of stories are powerful, and can be passed along to later generations.

Presently, now with two children of my own, I do my best to keep memories of my grandparents alive. I tell my children the stories I can remember. But think of how much more I could recollect if I had transcribed the stories in some fashion.

Reminiscing on those times now is wonderful, but I’m not sure if we have the stories right.

Therefore, it probably works to our advantage to reminisce with people we do know.

Steven Wright won’t mind.

Take the time to write down important family “stuff.” Get it down on paper.

You won’t regret it later.

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Steven Wright, circa 1982 from his debut on the Tonight Show. For my dad.


  • Jack Flacco

    I’ll never forget watching Steven Wright years ago late at night while my family slept. I literally had to hold a pillow to my face in laughter in order not to wake anyone. Man, those were the days!

    My family and I always reminisce about past events and great times. Especially during Christmas, we’re sitting in our jammies, drinking the egg nog and having a grand ol’ time talking about what went well throughout the year.

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