People I Come FromWritten by Teresa Clark
The other night my husband and I went to a backyard barbeque with a bunch of couples we've known for thirty years. Needless to say, we know a lot about each other's stories! You'd think we'd be hard pressed to share anything new with one another. But then we started talking about our ancestors a whole new world opened up. In no time at all we'd identified where our histories crossed on American soil - everywhere from Plymouth, Massachusetts to the Cherokee Nation in Tennessee to the high plains of Wyoming and more. We covered the valiant and the scalawags, the hard workers and the drifters. Suddenly the night was young and we chatted on well after the sun had set and the moon had come up bright and full overhead.
It struck me as the night unfolded that some very lucky people surrounded me. Not only did they know their pedigree, they were conversant in the stories that wrapped around those names and dates for generations back. It was clear to see all of them possessed a strong and resolute self-identity because of their knowledge of the people they'd come from. Somewhere in their past, someone had taken the time to tell them the stories of the people they came from. Somewhere in their past they had taken the time to listen and remember to the stories they were told.
The people we talked about that night were real. They weren't just names and dates on a chart anymore; they were family.
What are some of the stories found in your heritage? Do you know them? Do you tell them to your family? (For help, try our Heritage Journal)
A national award-winning storyteller, historian and author, she is best known for her original works and recollections of life's experiences blended with history. Teresa has presented and performed throughout the United States. Of her, it has been said, "Charming, witty, soulful, and wise, her performances are filled with a compelling sense of wonder and an irresistable zest for life." Her story work involves performance, education, production, and advocacy. From the main stage to individual consultations in living rooms across America, she delights in the excavation and sharing of family story. Most importantly, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother to her favorite playmates and best friends.
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