Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
...and whatever else catches the fancy of personal historian Tom Gilbert
Japanese War Flags
May 29, 2016
On Memorial Day in the United States we remember all the service men
and women who died in various wars fighting for our freedom. When we
are in the patriotic spirit it can be difficult to view the lives of
enemy soldiers with compassion and consideration. After all, they are
part of the foreign forces, the opposition intent on "their" side.
The stories of combat and the horrible conflicts of war often remain
silent, bottled up in the veterans who've seen things they do not want
to remember or re-live. Still, it is part of their lives and legacy, to
have served their time and dealt with the harsh realities of fighting.
In Japan their is a festival called Obon where the spirits of ancestors
are honored. This morning I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning
program and was taken in by telling of Americans who have decided to
return Japanese War flags. These flags were common trophies of American
G.I.'s from their World War Two experiences. But to the
these flags are more than keepsakes or good luck charms carried into
combat. They are considered the spirit of the soldier. To receive these
returned flags is emotionally and spiritually gratifying.
In the program's story, The
flags of their fathers,
Lee Cowan reports on tales of returned Japanese flags. You can
feel the emotion - powerful and cathartic. Pay particular attention to
Terry Stockdale speaking about the flags his father kept stowed away in
a footlocker. Terry's dad refused to send the flags back, but years
after his father passed away Terry took matters into his own hands.
Research led him to a couple who run a non-profit, the Obon Society.
Keiko and Rex Ziak have spent a great amount of their personal money to
reunite the flags with Japanese families. Time can eventually heal and
this story gave some vivid examples of this.
Up to High School
May 24, 2016
This time of year many are graduating from college and high school.
Those are momentous times and to be treated with the pomp and
circumstance they deserve. But there are other times when we go through
big transitions in school. One of them is moving from middle
school to high school.
I have now been teaching 5th grade at the same school in Albuquerque,
New Mexico the past four years. The school is pre-K through 8th grade.
Many of the children attend that whole stretch, or a considerable
number of those years. As a result they make long lasting friendships
and when the step up to high school it is a real rite of passage.
My first 5th grade class at this school graduated today from 8th grade.
I've watched some of them develop over the past four years and I have
fond memories as I consider how they will now move into an important
part of life. High School can be a great time of growth, but it is full
of challenges. There are the anxieties about self-image, the hormones,
the need to establish an identity and a certain amount of
rebelliousness comes with this time, too. Parents who've been through
teenagers in high school know all too well what I am referring to.
Proud parents, family and, of course, teachers all watched the
graduation today with pride. I wish these former students all the best.
I hope they discover their gifts and, more importantly, put them to
good use. How we live our lives is key to a life well-lived and the
legacy we leave.
You Didn't Know You Had
May 18, 2016
Sometimes you have stories about your life, your family members, or
friends and acquaintances that you didn't know you had. How do those
stories come to light?
Usually it takes a good listener willing to ask good questions. I've
types of questions over
the years and I've had some surprising tales told to me by people I
interviewed, often because I was willing to let them think, then talk.
I had to be a good listener who was not so intent on my next question,
but rather let the stories emerge from what had already been asked.
Lori Gillespie, a personal historian relatively new to the fine
(Association of Personal Historians) has posted something
new to the APH Blog for Personal
History Awareness Month. In Everyone
Has a Story, Including My Dad,
she relates finally getting a story from her Dad and also the
importance of being ready at the right time to listen to people who
become willing to talk about their life.
May 16, 2016
May is Personal History
wonder what your ancestors were like, what kind of people they were,
where they came from and what they did with their lives, you are not
alone. More and more people are searching and researching their family
history. Your past, including the history of your parents, grandparents
and the rest of the “family tree” is a rich source
waiting to be discovered. If you don’t already know the
stories that make up your family history you are missing out on a vital
part of your story.
also the story of your life – all your experiences, values,
expectations, lessons and more are waiting to be shared with your
family. They need to know about your life journey. You need to know
about it, too. Critical reflection of your life journey is beneficial
on many different levels.
| continue reading
End of School
May 11, 2016
We are getting near the end of another school year. That means the
students, teachers and parents are all a bit frazzled. Summer is on the
horizon and as a teacher I am looking forward to the break. At this
point in the school year the fifth graders are ready for a break, both
from school and me. Ditto.
Think back on your school experiences, especially as the year winds
down. Do you remember being antsy for summer? Did you get a yearbook
and spend time with your friends as you wrote your comments and
sentiments about each other and the year?
Everybody probably remembers their school days, both good and bad. I
grew up in a military family and we moved a lot. A lot! I went to about
10 different schools by the time I graduated from High School. That
meant a great deal of varied experiences. I made friends, moved away,
made new friends, dealt with being the "new kid" and so on. I survived
and had a lot of good experiences, too.
A story posted to Huffington Post comments on the stories we
school days and what it is like to be remembering your own experiences
and also hearing about it as a parent when your kids climb into the car
after another school day. Everyone's
Life Is a School Story by Rebecca
Green is online here.
Hobbies Are Clues to Life Story Subject Matter
May 5, 2016
Do you have any hobbies? Just about everybody has favorite ways to
spend their time. Over the years I've collected stamps, baseball cards,
coins, done lots of reading, listened to a great deal of music, tried
my hand at various kinds of writing, and my love of people's history
and stories has evolved from a hobby to a vocation for personal history.
I believe your hobbies can be a good source for inspiration when you
are writing about your life. Think about the hobbies you've had over
the years, from childhood to later in life. I found a list of 50 popular hobbies
online at notsoboringlife.com
and among many of the ones you'd expect to see there such as reading,
watching TV, hunting, fishing, cooking and sewing, it was interesting
to see that family time came in at number three. Combine that with
playing cards (#28) and I could write a story about how our family
loves to get together on Sundays for a meal, to visit and to play
As a Personal History
Awareness Month challenge,
pick one of your hobbies and write what you like about it, why it gives
you enjoyment and try to recall a particular time when you were
involved with that hobby and a significant life event happened.