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REVIEW of Focus 02
You Must Remember This

Not until someone in the family passes away is it realised that they have taken more with them than their mere presence. Memories of their past have gone too. A few old photos and a diary or two can fill in some of the gaps, but surviving relatives and friends are often left with only vague reminiscences of days gone by. Sharing anecdotes helps, but not too many know what really happened back then - only Mum, or Dad, or Grandma who are no longer around to ask. They were forever telling stories of their early lives, often to youngsters who had heard them so many times that they stopped listening. Is this truly important? It can be - the roots of families define what they are, where they came from and where they are going. Based on this, my message is plain - don't wait too long and take your past with you: write it down, not just for posterity, but for the enlightenment of future generations.

Writing memoirs isn't just for high-profile figures and old Colonels; and it doesn't have to be a tedious chore. In fact, it can be very enjoyable as I discovered when I began to document what I remembered of my father's start in life. He never spoke much about it himself, so recollections were based mainly on what my mother had told me. Researching genealogy sites on the Internet added facts to hearsay resulting in what I believe to be an interesting story of a man I guess I never really knew. In my uninformed mind, he had just been a musician, someone who played trumpet in a number of bands - a nobody, actually. How wrong could I have been?

I discovered that fans used to jostle him for his autograph. In his heyday he played for bands that were as popular in their time as the Beatles were in later years. He even met them and the Rolling Stones when he played in sessions on their early recordings. Dad made records, film scores and had two Royal Command Performances under his belt. Simply through wanting to know a bit more about him, he had ceased to be the little man I remembered as a child and rarely saw. Approaching seventy myself, I realised I had suddenly acquired a hero far more real to me than anyone else I could think of. And it happened because I needed to write down what I could recall about my father before I too passed away.

If you fancy, have a look at my attempt. With luck, it will encourage you to start delving into your own family's past.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 02 click here

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