“One evening on going home on a bus, a bomb dropped a short way behind us and caused the bus to surge forward and then stop. There were often raids during the day so I always carried my helmet as well as the compulsory gas mask. One night during an exceptionally heavy raid, a bomb dropped on a nearby garden shelter and I shall never forget the screams.”
The above was written by my grandmother as part of a brief record of her life. I don’t know when she wrote it, but I’m very glad that she did. It allows me and my family a short, but intimate view of her life in her own words. Towards the end of her life, she suffered from dementia, and I wish there were more of these anecdotes to read. I find it fascinating that someone so close to me in my family experienced something that is so far from my own normality. Reading anecdotes like this allow me to know things that she experienced but had not told me about; I was probably too young, or not interested then, or playing scrabble with her. Something that I wish my father had done. It was be so interesting to see his account of his life in his own words; he would of course say that it wouldn’t be interesting, but I disagree. There are folders and folders of family history which my parents have spent years collating, but a lot of it is just names and dates which don’t mean much to me. Likewise, my dad had notebooks upon notebooks of his scribbling that again don’t hold much meaning.
What I’d like to suggest is that people do as my Nan did; create some anecdotes of your life, you might not find them interesting, but I’m sure there will be others who will.