As summer winds down, there is a renewed energy in Bloomington as students return to the Indiana University campus. Locals lament the loss of parking spaces, but I love the return of music to Auer Hall, the hype surrounding athletic events, and seeing young people for whom all things seem possible.
This fall we have volunteered to serve as hosts to international students/scholars through Bloomington Worldwide Friendship. I’ve heard about this organization for years from several of my friends and have been eager to participate. Last night we met Hannah, who is from Burma/Myanmar. One of the things goals of BWF is to introduce international visitors to American customs, so when we learned that she has a birthday this fall, we decided to throw her a “traditional” birthday party. That will be fun to plan! Later today we meet our second visitor who is from India.
I have not blogged much recently because I have been immersing myself in family history. Years ago, when I was an undergraduate at Bluffton College, I did extensive research on my family’s history, but as my career consumed more of my time, I filed the research away. It didn’t seem as important as publishing books and earning tenure and promotion.
Now I have time to organize decades of notes. You see, I could not resist collecting the information even when I didn’t have time to process it. I am so thankful that I asked my parents to put their memories into writing. From the day I left home, they wrote me weekly letters which often contained nuggets of family stories. I tucked these away and now, as I read them, I am transported back to the kitchen in parents’ farmhouse. I find myself flooded with memories of my parents sitting at the kitchen table telling stories. No wonder I became a historian. Every meal was a history lesson, and I absorbed it all.