Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Chance Encounter

On my way to Salt Lake City for the Days of '47 celebration, I had an opportunity to make a new friend. A lovely lady named Isla Long sat in the window seat of my row on the plane. In her early 80's (so she tells me), Isla is a very talkative person and I absolutely enjoyed conversing with her. She told me she was heading back home after visiting with family for nearly 3 months. I thought it was great that she was traveling at her age and making a point to share experiences with her family. She seemed extremely active and I remember thinking that I only hope I will be as active as her if I am lucky to reach her age.

She was so cute as she shared stories about her life, her children, her recently passed husband, her mother, and an old flame from 65 years ago. She'd pull out photos from her backpack and even pulled out a great newspaper article about her Mom from May 22, 1985. As I learned more about this charming woman, I wondered how many of her grandkids knew all of these stories. I wondered how many of them had taken the time to sit down and listen to this dear lady and live vicariously through her. Obviously, it made me think about the service we provide through (C'mon, what do you expect?)

Isla is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but of course, that didn't matter to me. I just wanted her to know about our service and recommend that she use to catalog events in her life. The truth be told, I don't really care how she tells her stories, I just hope she does record them so her grandchildren will have a chance to share the life of this wonderful person.

Isla shared stories of World War II and her family that served in the military. She shared proud moments about her children and even shared personal moments. I don't want to get too specific about what Isla shared. After all, I think some of the moments and memories she shared with me were personal and I would never violate her trust or privacy. But her smile and excitement really endeared me to her and made me think hard about my life and the loved ones that I am so lucky to still associate with every day.

Meeting Isla was a wonderful way to kick off my trip to SLC and really got me thinking about personal history. I realize that I am much more mindful than most people since we're in the business of helping people record their lives. But I hope those of you who have someone like Isla in your life will take a moment to listen, share, and hopefully capture all of those moments that are worth recording.

Thank you, Isla, for sharing such wonderful stories with me and helping me remember to get with my grandmother to get all of her wonderful stories recorded. I hope you had a relaxing weekend and have fun at your Grandson's wedding!

1 comment:

Katran said...

Wow! What a wonderful lady! Thank you so much for sharing your meeting with her. I also hope that her children and grand-children can appreciate all the wonderful stories she has to tell. I have many fond memories of stories that my grandparents told me about their lives, and am so grateful for that.