I have deep roots in Washington, D.C., despite not ever having lived there. When we were young, my siblings and I had summers with my grandparents in Maryland. Our great-grandparents lived in DC and we spent time there visiting museums and monuments and absorbing the history of our nation’s capital.
Their apartment is still in the family and filled with memories of four generations. Years ago, when the apartment was updated, I kept my family’s old books and a few small mementos. I admit to being sentimental and I saved those items because they tied me to a history I never personally knew.
In the old days, people left calling cards when they visited someone and found they weren’t there. These cards and the leather case belonged to my great-grandmother. I also have a "shopping plate”: an original credit card. Today I rarely touch my credit cards because I can pay electronically through my phone. Despite spending my career in technology, I am still surprised how quickly things have changed.
I’ve enjoyed exploring the books I inherited and I continue to be surprised by the similarities in my great-grandparents reading choices and my own. Is it heredity? Environment? How could individuals separated by four generations enjoy so many of the same things?