Telling Stories – Holding Onto Memories

“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”                    — Barry Lopez in “Crow and Weasel”

This quote by Barry Lopez from Patti J Christensen in an article called “Quotes About Story and Story Telling” expresses how I feel about stories and the telling of them. Like many of you, I have material for story inspiration from many scenarios and unique people in my life, as you can tell if you’ve read any of my stories on this site. I enjoy sharing them and feel a connection to you when I tell them. I feel someone out there might have a similar experience and together we can recapture the moment and hold it in time.

This is a picture of a personal, historical family book published in 1905 about the life of Thomas Edward, Associate of the Linean Society (one of the highest honors that science could confer on him).

Family Book

Family Book Photo © Jim Ruppel 2012

He is my great-great grandfather and I inherited the book when my father died.

It was given to him by his mother, my grandmother, and granddaughter of Thomas Edward. This hundred-year old book entitled “Life of a Scotch Naturalist” by Samuel Smiles, LL.D, tells the life story of a lad growing up in Scotland with a passion for nature.

So much so, I learned, was his passion that he was kicked out of a number of kindergarten schools for smuggling in all sorts of critters, i.e., young rats, moles, hedgehogs, horse-leeches, bees, snakes to name several. His love of nature led to continued exploring and the collection of many unidentified species throughout his entire life but without an education, which he regretted.

As an adult with wife and family, each day would find him working 12-plus hours as a shoemaker’s apprentice and at night searching caves, gullies and Scotland firths for the next, undiscovered new species to collect and send off to scientists to identify.

Nearing the end of his life after many years having never received any recognition or compensation for his contribution to science, he was finally given an award and a monthly stipend by Queen Victoria (my dad told me of a wooden box his mother had given him with Thomas’s award from Queen Victoria but I could never find it after my father’s death).

Even more important than the award and compensation, Thomas Edward finally became known to the world and placed upon the Civil List Fund by Her Majesty with a memorial signed by many distinguished gentlemen of the time to include Charles Darwin, F.R.S.

If this cherished century-old book of my great-great grandfather had never been written and his life story documented, I would never have known about it. If we don’t pass along our stories, they will be lost forever and generations that follow will never get a chance to know us and what the world was truly like, as we saw it and lived. Many people will write historical journals about our era but only we can truly capture it first-hand and share it with our loved ones and others connecting us now and in the world to come.

I like to hear people share their stories capturing the memories and I want to hold onto the moment with them for just a little longer. There’s one such book you may be interested in called “The Figurine” by Rona Simmons, an author featured on Denise Baer’s “Pay It Forward” Skipping Stones Memories site. Rona writes of WWII experiences, as told by a nurse.

I will be sharing guest short stories on my site from time-to-time and I would like to hear your story. If you would like to participate with full copyright, please send your contact information via comment of this post or email me at Please, under separate cover, send only true, personal story types (nonfiction) that are funny, unique, historical, inspirational or encouraging giving others hope and perhaps tools of lessons learned.

Let’s keep our stories and ancestors’ stories alive by telling them. It will mean something to our children and the generations to come.

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table ~~ Want to put a big grin on my face? Just leave a comment or question. I’ll be grateful!

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