Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
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Your Life Journey With a Commemorative Mile Marker
June 25, 2017
I am sure you’ve seen signs that show the
mileage to destinations. Not the kind on the highway, but those funky looking
poles or stands with multiple little arrow-shaped signs stating how far
to a town, city or tourist location.
Those signs bring to mind memories and dreams about
those destinations. They are fun and amusing. How would you like a
customized journey marker to show off your favorite spots in life? You
can find just this thing at Personalized Journey Markers.
These markers come in a variety of styles (hanging, tabletop and post,
to mention a
few). Each one is made to order and is a unique "mile marker" for your
life journey. Jay Keeler has been doing this for years and has invites
you to take a look at what he offers, including a variety of
that can mark your life's journey. This
is a great gift idea during the holidays of for any
here and look around. If you place an order be sure to enter
the access code Your Life.
Way You Draw A Circle Can Reveal Cultural Differences
June 20, 2017
Ok, this is admittedly a little different than what I normally write
about. But my eye was captured by an article I received from a recent
Digg Editions email that stated "Drawing a Circle Reveals Who You Are,
And Other Facts".
The gist of the article (see here)
is that different countries and cultures influence how we draw circles.
Most Americans and many other countries draw circles in a
counter-clockwise direction, but a very high percentage of people in
Japan draw their circles in a clockwise direction.
On the page where I read the article I was invited to draw a circle
without thinking much about it and then I went on to read what the
article was about. I am American. I drew my circle clockwise.
Sounds like I was bucking the odds.
Reading further I discovered that a lot of left-handed people draw
their circles in a clockwise direction. That's me, a lefty.
Interestingly, though, was that I used the mouse to draw the circle and
it was in my right
hand when I drew it clockwise. Hmmm.
How we draw shape shapes and how we write script has a lot to do with
where we were born, raised and live and what are our cultural
backgrounds. Some cultures write from the right to the left, while here
in the United States, and many other Western cultures, we write from
left to right. Something to think about in the big picture of people,
culture and our stories.
Video Tribute - 12 Years of Daughter's First Day of School
June 13, 2017
Parents remember the first day of school for their children, especially
those first couple of years. One father, however, took that first day
of school for his daughter to great lengths. He created a video tribute
that documents their conversations about her first day of school on
twelve consecutive years.
The video has gone viral on YouTube
and for good reason. It shows why it is important for us to remember
and honor significant moments in our lives. Doing it for your own story
is great; doing it for someone you love is even better.
Years Ago Sgt. Pepper Was the Album We Played
June 5, 2017
Over the past few days I've been reminiscing about the amazing Beatles'
album, Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band.
It was first released on June 1, 1967, so this is the golden
anniversary of the historic recording. (Note: I've commented on some
previous Beatles' 50th anniversaries from 2014 and 2016.)
To give you some context, by 1967 the Beatles had grown weary of
touring with the many challenges they endured: screaming crowds, the
pressures of their fame and the inability of the technology of the time
to project their live sound with the quality they wanted. If you
recall, the Beatles were such a phenomenom by the mid-1960's that their
live shows were held in stadiums. Nobody had done that and so the sound
systems of the day were woefully inadequate.
By 1967 the Beatles had retired from touring and concentrated on making
music that pushed the envelope of recording techniques. It was a
psychedelic time, fueled by mind altering drugs like LSD and the
Out of that time came the pioneering Sgt. Pepper's album.
Some really great music. One of the most astounding things to me is
that two of the songs recorded at that time ended up being released as
a two-sided single. The pressure to have new music from the Beatles was
such that they put out the Penny
Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever single, arguably two of
their best songs from that time period. They ended up not being
included on Pepper.
The New York Times
published an article
about the exhaustive 50th anniversary reissue as well as some
commentary. I think they are correct that it is hard to fully
appreciate the album outside of the times it was originally
released in. In other words, we can't really recapture those days. But
for sure we can mark the importance of 1967 and the effect the music
was having on those of us who were growing up then.
If you want to hear a balanced and insightful review of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
I recommend a special produced by Paul Ingles ten years ago to mark the
40th anniversary of the album. You can hear "The Two Sides of
Sgt. Pepper: An Honest Appraisal" by going to Paul's
The Beatles' music certainly has endured - and I am confident it will
continue to do so. Ultimately the message for me is that we all "get by
with a little help from our friends."
Grade Students Write From the Heart
May 31, 2017
An 8th grade Language Arts Class at Chowchilla's Wilson Middle School
was given a writing assignment. Their teacher, Karen Gallagher asked
her students back in September to write about a moment in their lives
that had a big effect on them and changed the way they looked at
themselves and the world around them. An interesting and seemingly
The result was that the students and the teacher learned about each
other in a much greater way than they anticipated. The students opened
up and wrote from the heart about some powerful experiences. It took
seven months and some art students even got involved and created
illustrations. Stories detailing jhow students dealt with difficult
family situations, loss and new life, friends, triumphs, discoveries,
defeat and determination emerged.
A book has now been published with the stories and to the delight and
amazement of the students who never thought they could
such a thing. 82
now available as a book that will be treasured by the teacher,
students, family, friends and even strangers. I think it is marvelous
that they spent the year on this important project and saw it through
to completion. What a triumph!
Brian Wilkinson, editor for the Sierra
Star wrote about this project and you
can read a few of the stories from the book.
Closed For 70 Years Opened and It's Like a Time Capsule
May 22, 2017
It was a remarkable discovery when a Paris apartment, locked since
1939, was recently opened. It was like stepping back in time - a time
capsule of sorts - and the amazing amount of art inside makes it quite
a treasure trove.
The woman who lived in the flat for many years, Mrs. De Florian, had
fled to the south of France before World War Two broke out. She never
returned and after she died at the age of 91
it was opened to take inventory of her assets. And there were some
amazing discoveries, including a painting of a beautiful French woman
since identified as Marthe de Florian. She was the grandmother of Mrs.
De Florian and a French actress and socialite. That painting turned out
to be a work by 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini and was
sold at auction for over $3 million dollars! Apparently Boldini was one
of her many admirers.
There were some other fascinating finds in the apartment. Some great
pictures are included in the Daily
Mail article, Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70
years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled
at outbreak of WWII.
Historical discoveries such as this can be quite amazing. However, it
is possible you have some great discoveries with interesting family
history stories stored away in old letters, journals and photo albums.
Unlock these treasures. Preserving our personal history is important.
R.I.P to the APH
May 17, 2017
A week ago I received a surprising email. It was sent to all the
members of the Association
of Personal Historians (APH), a not-for-profit trade
organization with members around the world, announcing the dissolution
of the organization.
This was a shock. But unfortunately a necessary move that the Board of
Directors struggled over, but ultimately had to implement. Apparently
the 21 year old association has been experiencing increasing
difficulties to meet expenses. Not enough membership renewals or new
members and the costs of running the fine organization were oustripping
the operating budget.
I am saddened by the news having been a member since 2003. But it does
not mean the end of the personal history and life story movement.
People are increasingly finding ways to preserve their stories
(memoirs, videobiographies, digital and material scrapbooks, photo
albums, websites and much more).
It is often difficult for people to make a profitable business out of
life story work. Most personal historians do it for the love of the
work and the countless good reasons for saving life stories. Having the
support of others and an organization with resources and networking
opportunities is valuable. Fortunately enough of the APH members are
interested in keeping connected and already using social media like
Facebook to do so.
My intent is to continue to wave the banner of support for people
telling their story. I do this work and promotion along with my
fulltime teaching gig, so I do what I can on a part-time basis. But I
will continue to promote the services and providers that I think can
provide quality and rewarding work for those who are interested in
preserving their lives with their life stories.
So long and farewell APH. Sorry to see you go, but thanks for the years
of valuable resources and friends I've met during your twenty-plus year
has a story to tell!
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