Saturday, January 04, 2014

A Conversation With The Building Manager

This morning I had to go see the manager of my apartment building (unfortunately I wrote the wrong date on my rent cheque and had to bring her a replacement).  She invited me in for a few minutes, which turned into an hour.
        This is a woman who likes to talk, and while there are times you cant shut me up, there are also times when Im not really in the mood to hold a conversation with people.  I had hoped this would be a quick visit – Id drop my cheque off, get the receipt, make a bit of casual conversation, and then leave.  It didnt turn out that way.
        The building manager (Ill call her P) proceeded to tell me how she had hurt her knee and arm recently, and I mentioned about my sciatica bothering me over the Christmas break.  This then led to a discussion on how she (and her husband) ended up coming back to manage this apartment building (and another one or two). 
        During the time I had mentioned about my sciatica, I had told her about being in Australia a few years ago and having done something to cause it to flare up.  Our conversation then turned to her mentioning a cousin from Australia that she was going to be meeting for the first time in May, and how she had discovered this cousin.
        For the rest of the time I was there (the conversation about our injuries might have taken about five minutes), we discussed genealogy.  I have been interested in genealogy (researching your family tree) since I was about 16. 
        P told me about all the research she had done (she is legitimately related to royalty, and both Princess Di and Camilla, and has aristocracy in her roots as well), especially after being in contact with a distant relative from Australia (a different cousin).  Shes done loads of research, contacted various archives from different countries, been put into contact with people who could help, and has been given lots of information from others.  It sure sounded like she has done extensive research!  She also told me that she helps other people with research and shed be willing to help me (or point me in the right direction) if I wanted it.  Im not totally sure, but I would think shed charge a fee for her research services.
        P and I discussed how important it is to remember our past – who and where we came from – and the details.  She had told me how her mother had always wanted to write a book about her life story (and from what I was told, it would definitely be an interesting read), and now P is thinking about writing it – or some about her mother, but more so about her grandmother or great-grandmother.
        P mentioned that she has been trying to write things down in the evenings (stories and research), but she finds that she gets tired very easily and ends up not accomplishing much.  She wants to record everything for her children and grandchildren, and thought making a book out of all her information would probably be wise.  I suggested that maybe she could record things on one of those little hand held tape recorders and then when shes not feeling tired or has the time, she could then transcribe it, or have someone do it for her.  She said she hadnt thought about that, but it was a great idea and she might just try it.
        Since talking with P a couple of hours ago, I have also been thinking about doing more research on my own family tree.  I have a lot, but its all back home in New Brunswick.  My ancestors dont have an exciting background, or as interesting stories as the ones P told me about her relatives, but that doesnt matter.  Just because one of my ancestors was the first shoemaker on Prince Edward Island and not a duke or lord, doesnt make him any less significant. Everyone is important; every story is important, and I want to have a record of them.
        The Bible does say in Titus to “…avoid foolish controversies and genealogies…” (3:9), but I dont think its meaning that we shouldnt be involved in working on our family tree (after all, Jesus own genealogy is recorded in the New Testament twice).  I think this verse is dealing with deception.  My study Bible has a cross-reference to 2 Timothy 3:13 which talks about evil men and impostors deceiving people.  So, maybe these men, the impostors, were showing genealogies to try and make people think they were important, or someone they were not.  So, I dont think it goes against Scripture when you do your family tree.
        Anyway, I think its important to record information (names, dates) and stories about ourselves, our ancestors, and family members, for future generations.  Unfortunately, I dont have any kids of my own (which makes me sad, but thats another story), but I do have a nephew.  I do have cousins who have children.  And one day, one (or more) of them may have an interest and would like to read about their family history.

        Right now, Im in the mood to work on my family tree.  I sure wish I had my information here now.  Oh well, it will probably have to wait until the summer.  Ill have to look for it when I go back as Im not sure where it got placed – especially the computer program I had used to record the bulk of my information!  I just hope it hasnt been lost.  Id hate to have to start from scratch again.