Story and Why
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You Interesting and Varied Stories From Life
March 6, 2014
I've mentioned Cowbird before.
I know, it sounds like a strange fantasized animal hybrid. The catchy
name is good, though. Cows ruminate and birds take flights of fancy.
Cowbird is a delightful destination on the Internet to find interesting
and varied stories from life. The wide tapestry of humanity is on
display here as people post their memories, experiences, photographs
Althought it sounds like another social media site, it is different
from many of the other "gathering" sites. It has a slower and more
meditative pace. The stories go deeper and it feels more like a
gathering of storytellers. I, of course, have maintained for years that
everyone has a story.
Drop by cowbird.com
and see what you think. It's really fascinating.
Academy Award Win for
in Number 6"
March 3, 2014
A documentary film that tells the incredible story of the oldest living
Holocaust survivor, Alice
Herrz-Sommer, took home the Oscar at last night's Academy Awards
Ceremony. I posted about this film in January (life
lessons through music) and it is wonderful to see that a film that
captures some special personal history was honored in such a way.
Sadly, Alice Herrz-Sommer passed away a week ago, but living to the age
of 110 is incredible. Even better that her story was captured before
she died. It almost was not made. Discover the story of how the two
Montreal-based filmmakers, Frederic Bohbot and Malcom Clarke
collaborated on the film despite their concern that people might be too
weary for yet another story about the Holocaust.
Keeping history alive by saving life stories is so very important as
evidenced by The Lady in Number 6 getting
the special recognition of an Academy Award.
Turntables Are Back to the Future
February 23, 2014
Crosley, a company and brand, has a lot of history. Just looking at
some of their old appliances brings about waves of nostalgia. They
introduced a low price radio for the masses, the Harko, in 1920. It
sold for just $7. Other radios on the market cost $100, a lot of beans
in those days. Crosley was also known for refrigerators, gas or
electric ranges, and other appliances.
The first compact car in the US, introduced in 1939 and capable of
traveling 60 miles to the gallon, was brought to you by, yes, Crosley.
The company made a good deal of money and Powel Crosley built a
broadcasting company and even owned the Cincinnati Reds, just to keep
the team in his hometown.
There is a wealth of history in all of this and I recommend
you visit the Crosley website
to learn more. What fascinates me the most is how they now combine
vintage and modern technology. In case you were not aware, the
turntable has made something of a comeback. And people have always
loved the look of old radios and jukeboxes. Crosley makes vintage
looking devices that work and also have some modern features, so that
they can play CD's or MP3's. You can dock your iPod, yet also spin your
vinyl records. It's back to the
future in a most interesting way.
I was inspired to write this post after reading some emails from the Association of
Listserve. People were discussing ways to convert old cassettes to
digital files. Personal Historians certainly are a wealth of
Historians Face Special Challenges
February 18, 2014
It is not easy to be a Personal Historian. It is
fascinating and rewarding work. You literally save lives, in the form
of preserved life stories. You can help people write them or you can
interview them and do the writing for them. Personal Historians also
work in the fields of video recording and oral history (recording
someone speaking their story).
Some of the challenges are being articulate in explaining to others
what you do and in interviewing and coaching clients and subjects of
life stories. It also helps to be organized, thorough, detail oriented,
creative, flexible, friendly, encouraging, empathetic, dedicated
and...whew! Are you getting the picture?
Despite the many challenges, you should not turn away from this work if
you feel called to it. And I believe it is a calling, much like
teaching or working in the health and wellness fields.
Dhyan Atkinson, a business skills coach and marketing consultant, likes
working with personal historians to help them achieve financial success
and an appreciation of the worth of their work. She's led several
seminars and coaching sessions for members of the APH (once again, I must put in a
plug for the organization, the Association of
Personal Historians. Fabulous group!).
Dhyan is in the midst of posting 5 articles for beginning Personal Historians.
I've read two of them and she's not afraid to address some tough
aspects of this field. Not everyone is looking for personal historians
and a good personal history project doesn't come cheap. If you are
attempting to make a living with this work you best be willing to
market creatively and ask for what you are worth.
Don't let this scare you off, either as an aspiring Personal Historian
or someone looking for help with a life story project. This is important work and it needs to be
done. A tangible legacy - a preserved life story - is priceless
in its value for our families, friends and future generations.
Temple Black - Child Star and American Diplomat
February 11, 2014
Temple Black was arguably the most famous child star in Hollywood
history. News came today that she has passed away at the age of 85.
She was so very precocious and cute, bubbly and very talented. A real
darling who started at age 3 and by the time she was 10 was a huge
box-office star, making $50,000 per movie, an unheard of sum at the
time (the 1930's).
Her curls inspired hairstyles in countless girls. Her singing and tap
dancing showed her wonderful personality and brought smiles and
enjoyment to a huge audience. She was just 22 when she retired from
filmmaking. Her career had lost some steam as she grew up. But she went
on to have another prestigious career as a U.S. diplomat. She was an
amabassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and was part of the U.S.
delegation to the United Nations. You can find plenty about her online,
including this CNN article and this Los Angeles Times obituary.
Gentlemen, The Beatles 50th Anniversary
February 8, 2014
Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles on his show, February, 9, 1964, the
world, or at least much of the United States, changed. The Beatles had
already become popular in Europe, especially in England and their
hometown of Liverpool. But they'd also toured and played relentless
nightclub sets in Germany. That's how bands get good - they play - a
This was the Beatles first
live television performance in the USA.
Television was still relatively new and America was also ripe for
change. The Beatles were something new, fresh, fun and vibrant. They
played rock n' roll and reinvented some of the standards. Their own pop
that later evolved into sophisticated songwriting, has stood the test
of time. John, Paul, George and Ringo are part of the culture that
throbbed and erupted into a musical revolution in the 1960's.
Beatlemania was the rocket ship that put this revolution into orbit.
But oh, that amazing debut amongst the screaming girls on the Ed
Sullivan Show. Good times. CBS is honoring this 50th anniversary with a
two hour special
on Sunday night, February 9, 2014, exactly fifty years after that
historic first live appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. There will be a
look back as well as live performances, including Paul and Ringo on
stage together. Here's
a preview at CBS.com.
Lookback at Your Facebook
February 5, 2014
the Social Media network, is now ten years old. To celebrate they
surprised their one billion members with a lookback. It's a personal
lookback at your facebook, a movie or photo collection of some of your
memorable moments and posts on Facebook (CNN story, The Guardian story). An automated tool was used to
create these highlights. You can see your own 62-second clip by going
I joined FB in 2008 and admittedly didn't do much posting the first
couple of years. I now go on more frequently, but still do more viewing
than posting. Nevertheless, my lookback did manage to include some good
photos of my grandkids and a couple of interesting snapshots of me. I'm
glad the one where I am wearing a fake beard and my Boston Red Sox hat
on Halloween as the Sox clinched the World Series made the cut. But if
I was creating my own montage there is more I would have included, such
as pictures of my son's high school graduation or a trip I made with my
family to New York City in 2012.
What is most interesting to me as a personal historian is that a social
media network created a quick personalized lookback that gives many
people an inkling of what you can easily do to preserve some of your
personal history. The technology tools make it easy to create photo or
video memoirs. But you might want some help with a project like this,
or go even further and create a memoir with lots of text to go along
with the pictures. In that case, a personal historian or ghost-writer
might be the ticket. If you haven't searched at the Association of Personal Historians
you might want to make a visit. You can get lots of helpful information
about preserving your story as well as find a personal historian to
has a story to tell!
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