Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Value of the Trivial

“Be sure to use your full name, First, maiden and married, on your quilt labels,” our presenter instructed us.

Oh-oh. I’ve been lucky just to get labels on my quilts, and I haven’t used my maiden name at all.

“Years from now, if someone is trying to track you as a quilter, it will help to have your maiden name to distinguish you from other quilters who may have similar names,” she continued.

OK. So now I will include my maiden name. (For my Moslem friends, it is our custom to take our husband’s names when we marry. Some women don’t, but even now, the majority do. I know, I know, it seems backward to you, it is irrational, it is just the way it is. We also don’t have marriage contracts.)

At lunch with a long-time friend this week, she mentioned she still has her mother’s diaries. I suggested she offer them to a major university near where my friend grew up, to their historical collection, and my friend said “oh, it’s just daily weather, who’s sick, stuff like that.”

Stuff like that is just exactly what historians treasure. When I was at university, I worked for a time in the copying department of the library, and I specialized in the historical collections, many of which were from people who came west. The papers were fascinating – letters home, lists of supplies they asked to have sent West, to-do lists, old photos. The scraps of paper you and I throw away – there in the Northwest collection.

They become valuable, at least for historical research, for writing period fiction, for medical research – because we do throw them away, and so few survive.

Keeping up with this blog has become more problematic. I just don’t have the time in my life I used to have. My life is interesting to me, but now that I am no longer living in exotic locations, I don’t believe I am so interesting to others. My internal debate is whether or not to continue. I would let it go in a heartbeat and not miss the time, but . . . I think I would miss your feedback.

I’m not writing this for you. I’m sort of writing more for my own record-keeping, it’s why I include news articles and scraps of daily life (not my own) and all the oddities and irrationalities that catch my eye. I love having a place to store it all (this blog) and I love your comments, which can sometimes completely turn me around in point of view; you give me perspectives I hadn’t considered.

The point of all this is the ephemeral nature of our daily lives, and the records of our lives. There are things worth keeping.

I wish someone in Kuwait were doing oral histories on the older people who were living there ‘before oil’.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Biography, Blogging, Communication, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Generational, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Social Issues | 4 Comments