Showing posts from October, 2010

When I Finished a Family Memoir I Learned More From What They Didn't Say

"Ain't nothing like talking to an old fool," the voice inside my head chatted away. Disappointed that after hours of interviews and time spent jotting down short sentences with very little adjectives, there still was no substance, no real emotion, and no life lessons behind those who I had been taught since I was a baby to "say Aunt...say Uncle...good girl!" These folks weren't going to hand me any story about their lives on a silver platter. It was as if they were owners of mom and pop shops telling me, "I will offer you the cheapest item in my store while I keep the good stuff in the back closet for the good customers 'cause you can't afford what I got." Oh please, I was going to get the family history even if it meant digging up some info. about the relatives of our family's slave master and letting them talk.

They were my elders who had nothing worthwhile to say unless you probed and probed a little more while sharing a little g…