Pass on Your Family Traditions to the Young Ones

By Joe Darby

Last week Mary and I attended a program at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on Louisiana folk life.

It was conducted by a panel of experts who talked about their efforts to preserve our state’s folk life and what folk life means to a culture.

It’s all really pretty simple.  The folk, they said, are the people — you and me.  And the life part is merely the way we live, work, play, enjoy our music and stories, etc.

A people without a folk life and culture are a people without a heart and soul.  But, by gosh, we sure have a lot of heart and soul in Louisiana, don’t we?

So, it all got me to thinking about how important it is for us folks of a certain age to pass on to the younger generations our stories about life in the old days.  Sit down and have a good talk with them.  I think you’ll be surprised how interested they might be.  And, even better, in addition to the talk, write it all down for them.

You might think, “Well, I’ve lived an ordinary life, I don’t have anything special to say or pass on.”

But, not really.  If you could have access to such a paper written by your great-grandparents back in the mid 1800s, wouldn’t you find it fascinating?  I never knew my Darby grandparents but I sure wish I would have talked to my Armstrong grandparents about their early life.  They were born in the early 1880s in New Orleans.

I’d love to know what they thought when they saw their first automobile, or first airplane.  What they thought of radio, jazz music, World War I, the Depression, etc.

So, why not tell your younger ones about your life at school, the dating customs, your part-time jobs, your first car or first airplane ride.  Prices from the old days always fascinate the younger folk.  They tend not to believe me when I say I had a dinner for two at Brennan’s restaurant in 1966 for $12 and something.  And that I had a nice French Quarter apartment for $85 a month.

And of course we need to tell them what life was like before computers and hand-held “electronic devices.”  That we could actually enjoy life without them will be astounding to them, I would guess.

You all have great stories to tell, if you just think about it.  So take a little time and pass on your folk life.  I bet you will be really glad you did.  And future generations almost certainly will also.  Good luck.