I attended a funeral for a lady I'd never met the other day. It's not that I didn't try to meet her. But I never managed to convince her to talk to me. Her father was a step-brother to my great-grandmother, so we were two generations removed from each other. And I really, REALLY wanted to talk to her about my great-great-grandfather--the person I've spent 20+ years researching. Sadly, she was probably the last person alive who might have known R. H. Collins. If I could just have talked to her.
This past weekend's SGS conference focused on Oral History. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to ask this lady questions. And since I was busy teaching during the seminar, I didn't get to attend any of the sessions that would have made me a better interviewer/listener. Maybe next time.
The SGS Seminar Committee had a de-briefing session this evening. The speaker evaluations were overwhelmingly positive, with several speakers receiving the maximum possible scores. It's a shame more people didn't come to hear them. Hopefully those that did attend won't let their relatives become missed opportunities like I did. The lady I never met sounded like a really interesting and wonderful person.