jetboyca's dad passed away a while back, and there's been some things left to take care of down at his old house. He's mentioned that there are precious few people that he'd have along for such a thing, and I'm honored and privileged to be that kind of friend, in general and in specific.
There's definitely something odd about the experience of essentially sifting through someone else's life. It's incredibly raw... feels a little voyeuristic... but absolutely amazing... though not why you might think.
What's amazing for me is the experience of seeing jetboyca's face light up as he goes through things and discovers things he never knew was there... and rediscover things he did. His father led an absolutely amazing life, contributing to things that it can honestly be said, benefited humanity... events, experiences, and projects that every single person in the country (to say the least) knows about; that movies have been made of. And all along the way I get to hear things like "Oh! I remember this! I was..." (and the story continues). I love getting the chance to live life through someone else... and hear the stories. It's wonderful for me.... and I'm grateful.
The thing that I take away most though is the depth of HISTORY his family has. Pictures... letters... tokens of participation and affection... mementos of times past. We've seen things... original pictures and letters that are over 100 years old, but still there. Sure... maybe some of the stories get lost, but the idea that they're still living on to some degree in his (and my) discovery of them. You've seen the uber-posed pictures from cameras that took minutes to capture an image, everyone dressed in formal attire. But these are real... and many of them have the experience and people captured written on the back. Absolutely amazing.
It makes me realize that my family doesn't have that kind of history... at least none that I have access to. My great-grandmother was a serious family historian and had huge books, but they got passed to people I don't really talk to. I don't have (many) pictures of me when I was a kid... videos... movies... letters... stories to tell. I have my memories, and those aren't too bad (for me at least), but I don't have my history to look back on in awe and amazement. I mean... I don't NEED it... but this weekend has proved that to some degree, I enjoy it.
That being said... I think I'm enjoying experiencing someone else's history too. Probably differently, but equally as much as I might my own. :)