Have you ever searched your family tree? I don’t mean filling in the blanks of a geneological chart. What I’m talking about is digging into the meat and bones of those that came before you, getting beneath the names to the history. The stories you find may surprise you. The hardships our ancestors endured are nearly unimaginable in the society we live in now. I can’t imagine being put on a boat to go across the ocean knowing I would never see my family again. That’s what my great-grandmother faced. Not so long ago, women had little choice what directions their lives would take. What if your husband made you give up the chidren from your first marriage because he didn’t want to raise them? I found so many harrowing tales, not just of the women, but the men as well. These stories are what inspire me to write. Talk to those old people in your family sitting along the sidelines at parties and weddings and reunions. What they have to say may shock and fascinate you. How about that uncle that served in the war, or the grandmother whose voice still carries the lilt of another country? Talk to them…before it’s too late.