Friday, September 25, 2009

"I find that it is only when the people we love are silenced that we really begin to listen." - Margaret Ward

Page from SHA yearbook 1986

I love this quote. It was written by a friend of mine from High School in an article that she published in the Irish Times in 1996. She was writing about her grandmother who was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail at the age of fourteen.

I haven't seen Margaret since High School, but I heard that she lived in Dublin and I tracked her down. We met for coffee yesterday, and I felt like I could have stayed there for a few more hours. She was cute and friendly in High School. I remember her as smart, one of the "Garden City girls" and in the Defenders Society. It was great to reconnect with an old friend from school, but it was really great to discover a smart, accomplished interesting woman who knows a lot about the things that interest me.

Back in 2002, when it occurred to me that I knew very little about my family ancestry, I decided to start asking questions. It was as if some of my history was on the verge of slipping away, and the longer I waited, the more people would forget. When I learned that Margaret had 50 hours of taped interviews of her grandmother, I thought of how precious the opportunity to get to know someone really is. There are definitely some people that I would really love to sit and talk to a little more about how they remember their lives so far. Hopefully I will remember to do this with my children as well, for I do consider it a gift.

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