So true, Tracy, few people, especially those we categorize as everyday, think their stories are worth telling. I worked in a couple of nursing homes in my youth. The first one, a home run by Catholic nuns, was filled with people with the most fascinating stories. Often, the employees didn’t believe the stories of the elderly until a child or grandchild corroborated them.
There was a woman who was like a small, delicate doll. She kept telling the same stories over and over. She would lean forward in her chair and mumbled all day, but the stories were always the same. This was in Maine and she talked about liking in a cabin with no heat other than the fireplace and no running water and having 12 children. The employees at the home simply explained away her fanciful stories as dementia.
She rarely had family visit until one day a daughter-in-law and granddaughter came to visit. They told us that Grammy had 12 children while living in a cabin in northern Maine. They had no heat other than the fireplace and no running water. Six children slept in one room, six in the living area, and she and her husband in another room. Sometimes they were snowed in for weeks.
We would never have believed her stories if not for the daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
There was another resident who claimed she grew up near the Kennedys. Turns out she wasn’t hallucinating. She grew up in the same area as the Kennedy Compound on Cape Cod. Her father was a great supporter of Jack Kennedy’s presidential campaign! She often played with the Kennedy children and attended many presidential balls when Jack was in the White House.
These types of stories are priceless!