Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Last Unrecorded Generation

I'm at my parents' house in Beit Shemesh, having spent shabbat there. I showed them my game ("what an ugly picture!") and played a few games of backgammon in the morning with some of my neighbor's girls.

My parents mostly spent their lives earning money and saving. Now, at age 70, they just want to rest. They have all sorts of interesting stories to tell about bygone days: airplane travel that required you to wear a parachute, ration points to buy food during WWII, inkwells and pigtails, Skelly and boxball, communism, nuclear, and Smallpox scares, pre-'70s sexism and anti-semitism during job interviews, punch cards and tape computing - my father began teaching computers in 1963! - and so on. But I can't seem to get them to blog about these. I can't get them out of the house, actually.

My mom has been keeping a diary since 1956. Most entries as a whole are pretty uninteresting: about what child threw up, what facilities were at the last camp site, and each day's weather. But taken as a whole, 50 years of records would probably yield some incredible information patterns. One day I have to sift through it all.

This generation's memories are being backed up online. Our parents' brains are full of information that needs to be downloaded before it gets lost.



Anonymous said...

With a bit of care your mom's diary may exists 100s of years into the future. Would a record of this blog still be around in 10, 50, 100 years? There is great value in the old physical way of storing memories which modern technology has yet to achieve.

Yehuda said...

Oh, I don't know about that. I suspect that the contents of this blog will be replicated and store in many formats in many locations and still be available 100 years hence.

I doubt the diaries will still be legible.


Soccer Dad said...

You might find this of interest.

I'll e-mail you the article from the Baltimore Sun via NewsBank.