So What’s Your Story?

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Does your family have stories they tell over and over? You know the ones I mean. The ones  dragged enthusiastically out of the closet at family gatherings like well-worn shoes. They are repeated among friends and co-workers as either cute anecdotes or cautionary tales.

In studying genealogy, I once took a seminar with famous genealogist Josh Taylor who talked about tracing family legends and stories. He said, many of these are eventually disproved, but don’t lose them – hold on to them because that’s the interesting stuff.

So, who doesn’t enjoy a funny or juicy story? No one I know. Each time a story is retold to a new audience, it gets a little better, a little richer with the telling. Are they based in truth? Sometimes.

Only today, my youngest daughter and I somehow got on the subject of inaccurate tales that are carried forward over the years. I gave her an example of one my mother used to tell whenever someone remarked on the difference in height between my husband and me. Mom liked to say that our height difference never intimidated me, that when I’d get angry at my hubby, I’d just stand on a footstool and shake my finger in his face. I told my daughter that this was always a source of amusement to me. Firstly, because it wasn’t true, and secondly, because after my mom passed, my hubby picked it up and continues to relate the same story.

I laughed as I shared this ridiculous story and its history with my daughter, but she wasn’t laughing. Instead, she told me she tells this story from time to time herself! I thought, “Wow, the story my mom created made it to the third generation”, and “Cool, guess I’m a legend in my own time.” Or, a family legend in any case.

Finally, I told my daughter that the story did have some small kernel of truth to it. When we were still newlyweds, I used to stand on our hassock to kiss my sweet spouse good-bye as he was leaving for work. I thought it was sort of cute and told my mom. Guess she thought her version was better. 🙂 Probably.

So what family stories do you have that have been exaggerated over the years? Come on, I know you’ve got ‘em.

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