I have made the climb up Fool’s Hill and survived. I have been on the downward slope for some time now, and am approaching the end of my allotted time to enjoy the blessings that have been afforded …
I have made the climb up Fool’s Hill and survived. I have been on the downward slope for some time now, and am approaching the end of my allotted time to enjoy the blessings that have been afforded me through life itself. As I near the valley in which there are no exit paths, it is my intention to drain my memory vault so as to not carry all of it to my final resting place. There are so many who take all of their precious memories to the grave with them, and there could be no greater loss than this. I frequently hear a comment such as, “I wish I had talked with him/her about that before he/she died.” The answers to many questions are placed in a vault, covered with dirt, and will forever go unanswered.
The elderly, one of our most valuable resources, are rich in memories and experiences of by-gone days, all of which are unique to the individual. When the coffin lid is closed for the final time, unless those memories have been shared and recorded, the valuable book, which has taken a lifetime to write, will be buried and lost forever. Our cemeteries are filled with valuable irretrievable treasures.
I invite you to join me as I stroll through eighty years of memories. Until now, this story has been written in memories, without paper. I wish to go an additional step and convert the unwritten to written, the unobtainable to obtainable, the unpreserved to the preserved. It is of a Walker County boy who spent his formative years with many fellow Walker County individuals who traveled a similar path in their youth.
In no way can this be a glamorous story as there was not a whole lot of glamor to be found in Big Ridge, Alabama, where I lived throughout my school days. I would be writing a novel if I should inject glitz into this writing as it would not reflect the real me. I merely invite you to accompany me as I near the end of this journey. My hiking shoes are almost worn out and there will be no replacements. On our way, enjoy the scenery as there will be sweeping changes.
Many will take note of the fact that this will reflect a very narrow perspective as it comes from the experiences of a country boy whose childhood world was tucked away at the end of a dirt road in the Walker County Boondocks in the late thirties, forties, and early fifties of Walker County, Alabama. City Slickers (no offense intended) who were reared in an entirely different environment, with paved streets and sidewalks, water on tap, electricity, phones, and other conveniences (which we did not have in the early years), may find it difficult to walk along the country paths and avoid the briars, poison oak, snakes and stumbling stones along the way. Consider that one’s perspective in life is formed from birth and is largely based on life’s experiences. Parents and their views and values are instilled in youngsters from the beginning of the child’s life, and all will vary with different parentages. Peers also have a strong influence in child development. One must figure in the time period that this growth occurred and in which individualism is molded. Such is what will be found in these writings. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two personalities are identical. I feel fortunate to have been blessed with love, discipline, and guidance that helped to insure an enjoyable life’s journey. It is one that I feel worthy of sharing with others.
As a further introduction as to what you may expect as we travel together, understand that, having been born in 1938, I am three generations removed from the newcomers of today. The babies arriving today are welcomed into a vastly different world than the one in which I was born, at home, with no doctor present. Whether or not this new era is advantageous or harmful for the children arriving now is open to debate, and there are pro’s and con’s that enter the equations. It is certainly more of a complex world today than then.
Even today, those who begin life’s journey must know how to successfully climb Fool’s Hill so that their journey down Memory Lane, and across time will be a rewarding one.