Generational knowledge is the best knowledge
There seems to be a day to mark everything these days so I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that Sept. 11 was National Grandparents Day. That discovery was a good fit with a thought that had been percolating in the mind. Namely, do grandparents play a significant role in a child’s life?
I didn’t develop a close bond with my grandparents, mainly because of longevity issues. So, I have wondered if I had been deprived of an important life experience. After reading Bill Massey’s second book, I think I may have.
Of Poets & Pioneers is the story of Bill’s relationship with his grandfather, Will Massey. Through narrative and poetry, Bill shows how his grandfather inspired and guided him, and influenced the path he would take in his life journey.
Growing up in troubled and poverty-stricken home, Bill spent his summers with his grandfather, where, through conversations and adventures, the world opened up for him. Many of his grandfather’s experiences are recorded in prose and poetry, dating back to the early 1900s, when Will was a young man. Bill contributes several poems in tribute to his grandfather and others in his family. The narrative and poetry in this book underscore the importance of family lessons and knowledge passed down from one generation.
While searching out grandparent “experiences”, I learned that the Charleswood Historical Society is a strong proponent of the generational learning. The society’s website encourages anyone interested in learning about the history of Charleswood (or any other community) to talk to their grandparents or great grandparents — if they are fortunate enough to have them — and to ask them to tell stories about “the olden days”. There is much to learn from these stories. Not only about the community but about how grandparents had to learn to survive in a sometimes inhospitable environment and, for some, learn a new language and culture. Their experiences, the knowledge they acquired along the way, and the resilience they developed is something they passed on to their children. And to their children’s children.
Of Poets & Pioneers is a perfect example of that kind of generational learning. In relaying his grandfather’s experience in a new country and the struggles he endured to create a life for his family, Bill Massey illustrates how his grandfather’s influence and guidance helped him become the man he is today.
The book is a great read for those seeking the nostalgia that many of us have been missing during the disruptive pandemic years. I’d also recommend it to young people. They just might find reading about a bond that developed between a grandfather and grandson so inspiring they want to pursue the experience. Those who wish to purchase the book can contact Bill Massey directly at email@example.com or by calling 204-467-9122.
Charleswood community correspondent
Donna Minkus is a community correspondent for Charleswood.