Student Reflections: Christine Caudill

As a student historian, this has simply re-ignited my passion to learn and hear more from people who have lived through various time periods, even in the recent past of about a hundred years. I am more dedicated than ever, I believe, to trying to capture and interview whomever I can, even if it is not video recorded. I also want to record somehow both my own memories and those of my age group and younger. Things that I remember and forget are so historical, such as 9/11, the fall of the Berlin wall, and the end of the cold war; what it was like living under the threat of nuclear war, how people reacted at the prospect of Y2K, etc. Interestingly enough it makes me want to turn into a roving journalist again, asking anyone I come in contact with the things that they think majorly influenced them or their lives.

We all have a story to tell. Many people out there have a lot of stories to tell. I also have really realized and been impacted recently at how many traditions and stories we are losing/have lost because the world has become so much smaller and time crunched. Years ago people sat around on Sundays or holidays and retold the stories that they remembered from their youth or different times in their life. That doesn’t happen anymore at all. People in general do not seem to have time to vest in other people’s lives and they certainly don’t have time to sit around and listen to old war stories or the ‘good ole days’. Especially as our society ages and passes on, we are losing so many stories, so many memories. Even people who are under fifty who are alive today have no real connection to history before them. I believe it is our duty as historians to capture as many stories and memories as possible. I know that my children love to hear stories of how my mother had to park her model-T car backwards up a hill so that they could drift start it, and other comical and serious memories. The world today seems to be speeding by at such an incredibly fast pace that it seems we are in danger of not even having a ‘collective memory’. But, of course, what I think is just as important, is the individual and their personal story. To me, that is history.

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