Artists, keep your sketchbooks! My grandparents’ home (the Borden homestead) in Indiana had a round barn in back, but when my cousins and I visited a few months ago, all we could find was its foundation. I remembered I had drawn it somewhere, and when I was cleaning out the vault I found this drawing in an old sketchbook (dated 1973).
Once I showed the sketch to two of my cousins, the stories started flowing! They wrote to me about growing up on the farm and their memories of the round barn, searching out new kittens in the spring, playing with migrant worker children during the harvest months. Seeing how the migrant families were treated unequally by some in the community (and how my uncle tried to counteract the inequity) helped foster my cousins’ sense of social justice.
Symbols help us remember, and bring us together. We’re accumulating family stories to share with relatives, and this has given us a way to continue to stay connected.