(Originally published in The Forum November 25, 2009)
by: Chad Quinn
I recently celebrated another birthday… I’m not someone who dreads getting older (at least not yet), so I try to embrace the idea that I’m another year older.
Even as I embrace getting older, what brings me back to reality is that as I get older, so too do the people around me. It’s a sobering thought, but inevitable. As much as my subconscious likes to keep a younger image of me at the forefront, my mind plays the same tricks with memories of my family. I have to remind myself of my mother’s real age – although I see her in much the same way that I always have, as energetic and youthful, the truth is she tells me more often about aches and having to take it just a little bit easier. The same goes for my grandmother, a wonderful and active woman who in my mind’s image is sharp as a tack and as active as ever, but in reality is keeping pace with my own aging and sometimes forgets details more than I like to admit.
Getting older reminds me that now is the time to ask questions of those around me to complete my history – the history of my family; where my grandparents came from and their life experiences. Asking those questions now is important, because once the people who can share those first-hand experiences are gone, it makes completing the puzzle much harder.
The same is true with our City’s history. As I’ve talked at various homeowner’s associations and neighborhood meetings, and have had the opportunity to speak with people from all walks of life within our community, it’s clear most everyone has a story, a piece of the puzzle, whether they realize it or not.
A great example is one of our very own, Miriel Stein, who has been a volunteer with the Tamarac Historical Society since we formed in July, informed us just last month that she had some sales brochures and advertisements from her community – the exact items we discuss in our meetings and solicit donations of from the community… because of her role in helping to get the Historical Society up and running she forgot to look in her own home.
Tamarac was originally founded, and thrived for much of its history, as an active retirement community. Original owners are becoming harder to come by (although I have met quite a few). Now is the time to speak with them, to ask the questions about the way Tamarac was and what they remember about its evolution. Like any members of a family, we can’t take their time with us for granted.
If you have a neighbor, or if you yourself, are a long time resident we’d love to speak to you. As you know, we’re in the early stages of the formation of the Tamarac Historical Society; our information gathering is not yet as sophisticated as we strive for, our oral history/interview skills still need to be honed, and like everything else about this new endeavor, we’re learning as we go. But its truly an amazing journey, and those who have already shared their memories with us have provided invaluable information and a foundation for us to move forward. Often the information we are given, or that we obtain through research leads to more questions and yet another direction for us to look.
Recently I was given a bound, very worn, history of the Mainlands 4 neighborhood – a combination of written narrative and various photographs that describe the beginnings of the neighborhood and show many of the early residents. It was fascinating to read about the $10 down payment for new homes and the various stores where the buyers would go to pick out their fixtures, not to mention the many challenges and new experiences the residents would have – like feeding that odd looking reptile with the long tail hot dogs (once they realized that alligators were very dangerous, it was moved to a safer location farther away)!
Tamarac will be 50 in 2013 – and although fifty is the new thirty, or whatever the checkout magazines are proclaiming this week, our City is aging… I think for the better. But it’s the journey that got us here, and the path we’re on right now, that we need to preserve for future generations. That is what the Tamarac Historical Society is all about and we need your help. No matter how small or trivial you think that sales brochure is, or the menu you kept from your favorite diner, or the photo of your niece’s first place finish in the 1st annual Turkey Trot, it means something to us. Do you have any of these items, or perhaps a quick story you’d like to share about a business that you use to patronize regularly that is no longer in Tamarac, or one that has been here for years… call (954) 597-3523 or email email@example.com.