Sunday, February 13, 2011

Barrington, Beacon Hill and Family Stories

I grew up listening to family stories. I remember sitting around our kitchen table listening to my mother,her sisters and brothers talking about 'up home'. 'Up home' referred to Beacon Hill in Upper Michigan. Many of my mom's brother and sisters lived in or around Fox River Grove Illinois while I was growing up. There were always lots of laughter and stories.

My grandfather William Pahlke was retired and lived in Barrington just a couple of miles away. He would come to visit my mother during the week and tell her stories about family and friends. The one phrase I remember him using a lot was 'the big one', his reference to World War I.

Before I was born Grandpa Pahlke took mom on a tour of Barrington, his home town, and pointed out not only the houses various family members had lived in, but even their tombstones! What I would not give for a video of that day.

It is so important to record these family stories. They not only tell the history of our family but also of the communities that they settled in. The Barrington Area Library
has started an initiative to record the stories of the people of Barrington. The stories can be written or recorded, but the main thing is to collect them. I have listened to a few and I am so sorry I never recorded the breakfasts I would have with my Dad and Uncle Newt. I have written down the stories, but recordings would be so cool.

Last night I told mom she needed to take a break from writing about her childhood growing up on Lake Superior. I asked her to focus her writing about moving to Barrington and the various jobs and people she encountered.

I know we all think our parents have a special story, but hers is quite unique. In the late 1940's businesses in Barrington were advertising in Upper Michigan for "Clean, Hardworking Finnish Girls". Mom's sister Bunnie had answered one of these ads and found employment in Barrington. Soon after mom followed her lead and moved to Barrington. She also met dad...

This year make a point of starting to record your family stories. It may be a story that you have heard 100 times, but have your written it down? These family stories are more precious than any birth certificate or immigration record you will find.

Take Care,

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1 comment:

  1. Pattie,
    I still have to get you the tape my dad (Kenny/Ralph) made...It has a lot of Beacon Hill stories.... I will send it to you soon... it is my only copy... :)