IF THERE IS one thing that I miss from the days of childhood and adolescence it is the ability to dive into the intense world of daydreaming. Of being in a place where no boundaries exist and where energy could be found in abundance.

IT IS ONLY now as an adult that I see the connection between my early life's daydreaming and the later interest for genealogy and family history.

IN THE 1950s, some educational psychologists warned parents not to let their children daydream, for fear that they may be sucked into "neurosis and even psychosis". As if they could stop a child from daydreaming.

FAMILY HISTORY AND DAYDREAMING - THE CONNECTION

As a youngster I loved listening to the older members of the family telling stories about their past - and retelling stories that they themselves had heard from their own parents and grandparents. They opened up a universe with such an appeal to me. A universe that was so much closer to nature and human nature than the so called modern world of today. Yesteryear's life was a hard one - but it was also a life so much closer to the basic elements of what life is really all about.

HISTORY BOOKS

Back then - when my ability to self-learn was so brand new - I also awaited every new school-year's history books with great anticipation, usually reading them from start to finish in just a few days. They were like fuel to the brain. How I longed to be part of a stone age family - partaking in their daily life of hunting, toolmaking and housebuilding.

Later came the bronze age, the viking era - and the great emigration to America. I was quite clear, though, about not liking the mistreatment of the native Americans. How could I, I was surely one of them.

In the late 70's came the french animation series "Once upon a time" ("Il était une fois l'homme") which so brilliantly captures the history of mankind.

LIVING CLOSE TO THE SOIL

For me history and the people of the past were very much connected to the earth - the soil. I was adamant about becoming a farmer, clearing new land - or living as a trapper in the big forests of Canada - far away from the noise of the big cities. That is how I envisaged I would be closest to the generations of the past - to the ancient trail of humankind.

At some stage I read all the books I could find about plants and their healing powers. Knowledge that would serve me well when I one day would set out into the big unknown.

THE TOWN LIBRARY

The town library was another exciting place where knowledge about the past could be explored. The growing anticipation when trawling the library bookshelves for tales of times gone by.

The smell of old books and the hushed silence made going there on a Saturday afternoon a glorious adventure in itself.

Sweet days of daydreaming - where can I find ye!

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