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Nially_Bob's avatar

Do you have a routine action which reminds you of your history?

Asked by Nially_Bob (3844points) April 12th, 2009

Many that I have met during my brief time in this world have offered the thought that one should “never forget where they came from” and for some time I battled with the precise implications of such a concept. From what place have I come and how am I to remind myself of it? A scientist may state that I was created by means of a predictable collection of chemical reactions and bonds followed by natural, ineluctable processes. Accordingly, ingoing with the previously mentioned principle, I should never disregard certain aspects of science and it’s methodology. A ‘patriot’ may inform me that I derive from the long history of changes and adaptations performed by a culture or society. Therefore it would be in my best interests to attempt to memorise all that I can of the culture and society I live or once lived amongst. A theist could remark that I am a result of ‘God’ and that which he/she/it has constructed. Thus I must come to understand this deity in as many of its complexities as I can comprehend.
We as a species debate our origins, we praise our origins, we ravage one another due to disagreements regarding our origins, our origins are evidently of great significance to us. This consequently draws me to believe that the regulatory manners in which we remind ourselves of such origins (or “where we came from”) speaks great lengths about both us as a species and us as individuals. So please my friends, share with me and this community what routine actions, if any, you commit yourselves to which remind you of “where you came from”.

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14 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yes, whenever I eat blintses and caviar, I remember my childhood…whenever, I wear my glasses, I’m reminded of my mother…whenever I read my poetry from years back, I remember the state I was in when I’ve written it

Nially_Bob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Why are you reminded of your mother when wearing your glasses may I inquire?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I look like her…I look like her when she was younger, when I was a child

bea2345's avatar

Every time I have a haircut and look in the mirror, I think of my maternal grandmother. I never knew her, but my mother says with my hair short, I could be her twin. And according to family lore, she was a remarkable woman.

susanc's avatar

I reread my old journals and I think “Who WAS that woman?”

RedPowerLady's avatar

I do many things that remind me of where I came from. I participate in ceremony and in cultural activities on a regular basis. They mean so much to me and I truly enjoy them.
For example every Saturday morning I go to the community Longhouse (a traditional Native American building) and me and some people in the community work on making regalia. I am making a shawl right now, probably the simplest of the tasks, lol. I really enjoy this time with my community and I also really enjoy learning how to do these traditional tasks.

hitomi's avatar

Without knowing why I have always covered my mouth when I laugh or smile or am eating….my mother noticed one day and said she thought it was odd and very Japanese…not necessarily MODERN Japanese, but they used to believe that showing your teeth was too much like animals, so they would use fans and/or ink out their teeth to prevent the white from showing. My mother hypothesized that it might be some sort of inherited trait because we are part Japanese.

Nially_Bob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That’s a warming thought. I myself have always disliked wearing my glasses; they remind me that, despite my illusions, I am as vulnerable as most.
@bea2345 Care to share some of this lore my friend?
@susanc In retrospect are you more disappointed or pleased with your choices?
@RedPowerLady Why is this cultural history important to you may I ask?
@hitomi I have grown amongst the British culture (though this is likely a trait of many cultures) and have, alongside others, developed the habit of always covering my mouth when eating and speaking, laughing, sighing or any other behaviour that involves opening the mouth. It may sound like simple etiquette but when sitting at a dinner table and discussing something with the people also sat at it, all with their hands covered over their mouths, it can seem somewhat bizarre.

hitomi's avatar

@Nially_Bob the weirdest thing for me is that no one else in my family (or really anyone else I knew growing up) did this….so I don’t know where I got it from – my mother’s mother, who was Japanese, died when my mother was young so I don’t even know if SHE did it…but my mom jokes that it’s the Japanese side of me showing through.

bea2345's avatar

@Nially_Bob All my information comes from my mother. My grandmother, the youngest of 5 girls (and one boy), was born to a cocoa growing farmer. At the end of the nineteenth and during the early years of the twentieth century, cocoa was king. Many fortunes were made; and when cocoa declined – mainly because of disease – many fortunes, including that of my great grandfather, were lost. Old Mr Hughes retired into a life of, if not exactly penury, a kind that did not extend to education for his daughters. Anyhow, his eldest daughter, Josephine (we all called her Mammy Joe), decided that genteel unemployment was not her thing and went to work in the Colonial Hospital (now the Port of Spain General Hospital). She was one of the first to register for midwifery training, and her name is recorded in the register of the Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago.

Anyhow, over her father’s objections, she saw to it that her youngest sister, Louise, got a secondary education. Louise became a teacher and remained in the service even after she married my grandfather. When he died, she was in her twenties, with two young daughters (my mother was not yet two). She continued teaching, and as soon as she could, moved out of her mother-in-law’s house and into her own, purchased with the money paid as indemnity for her husband’s accidental death – Mom never gave the details, only that he “drowned at Carenage” (a village 8 miles from Port of Spain).

Around 1919, nice girls did not behave this way. But my grandmother wanted a life for herself and her daughters. She taught in the Anglican school system for over 20 years, retiring as Principal of St. Margaret’s Girls’ School. During that time she raised her daughters, saw them through secondary school, bought another house, was active in the Mothers’ Union and was a stout churchwoman. At the same time, she was diabetic. The only treatment was a starvation diet, aided with herb teas. She stuck to this regimen right up to the final illness that killed her: leukemia. Insulin did not reach Trinidad until long after the war. I have since thought that persistent hunger was the impetus to her activism.

Bear in mind that before the middle fifties, secondary education for girls, and especially black and East Indian girls, was a scarce good. My grandmother had to find school fees, books and uniforms for her 2 girls, in an age when the majority of children, let alone girls, did not go beyond primary school. And this she did on a pittance. My mother recalls going to school many days with only hot sugar water in her stomach. At the same time, accepting lunch invitations from better-off friends was strictly forbidden. Both did well in school. My mother came first in the British Empire in the School Certificate of 1932, and my grandmother searched in vain for a school that would accept her daughter so that she could matriculate. The Canon of Holy Trinity Cathedral told her loftily, he “did not take girls.”

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Nially_Bob Because my culture is a huge part of my life. It makes up much of my belief system, my community, my spirituality, my personality even. I am also of the belief that one’s history still affects us today. In both positive and negative ways. And the more you know about it the more control you have over it, or at least understanding. I also believe in time being more fluid therefore the past would have a more direct impact on the present and the future.

Jack_Haas's avatar

Nothing comes to mind. I would say it’s a permanent state of awareness. It’s more like the German notion of Heimat, maybe because I come from a German part of france and my family’s values, our character are completely at odds with the national values and character. I have lived in a different province for over 15 years now and maybe it’s why I carry this sense of Heimat and don’t need a particular event to remind me of where I come from. It’s always in me.

Zen's avatar

I look at my kids, and I am reminded of how fragile we are, why we are here, from whence we came, and hopefully where we are going. I look in the mirror, I see myself but also hints of my parents, both of them.

I smell the flowers and hear the birds in the morn, I see the cows and taste the corn; All’s right in the world, now: but never forget/never again.

Never forget (what)? and never again (what?) is in the ‘mind of the beholder’ – to each his own private genocide and war; strife and pain.

All are equal in that respect, all are constantly reminded to try to make the world a little better, for our children, and their children.


mattbrowne's avatar

Identifying harmonies and instruments when listening to music. Oh, a modulation, changing from tonal center to another.

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