By Jeremy C. Nagel
Despite never considering myself a real “history buff,” at both work and at home I’ve found myself in the role of de facto historian. All that means at home is that I’m the curator of my parents’ treasure troves of old family photos, documents and genealogies in various stages of completion.
It’s a considerable stockpile of information, and I look forward to the day when I can start stitching it all together into a single, coherent story—our family’s history, properly written and illustrated.
There’s a maddening hitch, however: all the information I don’t have. I’ve mourned the loss of both my parents now and I miss them both, but the void that really nags at me is all the details and names and stories and memories that vanished with them. Their unrecorded memories are irreplaceable—gone forever.
On a practical level, that means that family treasure trove includes hundreds of old photos of people I may never be able to identify.
As my mother aged I meant to visit and “download” all her recollections of all those long-gone faces and places. And we did put a dent in that task, but it was a small dent and then she was gone...
Similarly, here at Farm Bureau we’re looking for ways to “download” members’ memories. Without exception, every conversation about Farm Bureau’s history results in members telling great—really great!—stories from their own experience. Everything from Junior Farm Bureau courtships that led to lifelong partnerships to what it was like to attend the first Young People’s Citizenship Seminar, or shop at a Farm Bureau Services co-op store… They’re all solid gold, and I think worth documenting, worth preserving and worth sharing.
It seems every Farm Bureau member over the age of 30 has a story to tell about, or related to, their involvement in the organization. Put them all together and we’ll have a much more colorful, much more detailed look at your organization’s first century.
The challenge is: how do we capture it all?
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