Water Tower Memories

Names written on water towers, overpasses and walls. What do they have in common? Someone either wants to be remembered, or they want their undying love for someone else to be remembered. Itís the writerís meager effort at bestowing immortality.

Some may smile or laugh when they see such things, but are those names written in strange places silly? I donít think so. We do the same thing with stone when a loved one passes away. The biggest difference is that the stone tends to hold onto the names a little longer. Eventually, decades and weather will wear the stone away making those remembrances fade away just like rust on water towers erase the names painted on them.

One thing I have learned, however, is that as long as we remember someone they continue to live among us. Memories of a parent, grandparent, or if we are really lucky, a great grandparent keep those people alive within our hearts. Hopefully, the times we shared with them make for fond memories.

I never met my grandfather, Louis Algood. He died many years before I was born. Yet, he lives in my memories because of stories my grandmother shared with me. The old black and white photos that were passed down to me help me visualize the man I never knew. I can see him vividly sawing crossties or trading horses.

One old picture of him and my father, taken about 1920, shows them together after a hunt holding up a squirrel in front of the first house that stood on Oak Hill Farm. He must have been a good father; I thought the first time I laid eyes on that picture. He spent time with his boys.

A few years ago I wrote a book for my daughters about my memories growing up on that same hill. I shared stories told to me about family members from days gone by. By no means is it a formal genealogy of all my ancestors, but it is a book of remembrances I wanted my girls to know about, so they could pass those stories down to their children and grandchildren.

My grandmother, Corrie Algood, once told me that each time a member of an older generation dies itís like a library burning down. Now that I am in my sixties I see how very true her statement was.

For our parents, grandparents and all our ancestors to keep living in some small way, we must share their stories with our children and grandchildren. Write your familyís stories down and share them with as many people as you can. Some day someone will pick up those writings, read them and appreciate what you took time to do.

Unlike the names and dates written on stone in obscure cemeteries scattered across this great land that will fade away through the ages, those stories you commit to paper will bring loved ones back from the dead if only for a few moments as someone enjoys their lifeís story once more.

I challenge you to write your familyís stories down. And to help you remember to do so, I predict there will be water towers and overpasses throughout your life to prod your memory!

Rick Algood
July 1, 2014


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