As defined in the dictionary, a legacy is a gift, by will, especially of money or other personal property; something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.
I’m not sure that today’s generation feels the same way about legacies as those of generations past. Our lives today seem more filled with disposable things and things not meant to last. As I look around my house, it’s certainly not filled with antique furniture from my grandparents or pictures that once hung in the parlor. I do have a small packet of letters that my dad wrote my mom back in 1946 when he left for Germany a month after they were married. When my parents died, they left the grandkids money, which according to definition is a legacy, but it’s not the same as something lasting such as jewelry, a pocket knife or a small memento from a life well lived.
Our history is also being lost because of technology. We don’t write letters; we send emails which are read then deleted to make room for more. We don’t have to write diaries or journals for those who come later to know our history. Everything you ever wanted to know is posted on multiple sites on the internet. While information is readily available, it has lost the personal element of the writer who took the journey. If you are one of the few who journal, you have a legacy for your children and grandchildren. You don’t have to have done something incredible like bicycle across the country or climb the highest mountain and then write about it to leave a legacy.
While the definition I found tends to make one think of tangible things, a legacy can certainly be intangible. I was brought up in a strict household where you said “yes, sir” and were expected to do your best – in school or at a job. I tried to instill those same attributes in my children. I can remember once when my high school daughter not so jokingly said “damn your work ethic” because her friends were playing hokey from work and she couldn’t make herself call in sick to her work place.
My love of writing a good story is another legacy I hope to pass down, although it has apparently skipped my children and gone directly to my grandchildren. At age “almost 13”, my granddaughter has been writing stories for several years, some with quite involved characters and plot lines. My 10 year old grandson prefers his stories full of monsters and explosive action, accompanied with original drawings of said exploding universes. That same grandson has my father’s surname as his middle name…another legacy from the past.
Do you have legacies – things passed down to you? Are they from more than one generation in the past? More important, do you know the stories behind them?
Writing “Her Scottish Legacy” led to quite a bit of mystery in the process of Heather and Hunter discovering her legacy, left undetected for over twenty-five years. Available as an ebook at any of your favorite online retailers https://books2read.com/Her-Scottish-Legacy and in print through Amazon. Her Scottish Legacy: Baldwin, Barbara: 9780228616153: AmazonSmile: Books I hope you enjoy it as much as I did while writing-- especially all the Scottish history and learning about the textile industry of the time.
Wishing you a creative and healthy New Year,