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Memories for the Merry Month of May

by Tom Gilbert © 2004
(written April 27, 2004)

May is springtime and when nature is showing her colors and plants are coming back to life it's a great time to be outdoors and to enjoy life. It's also a grand time to start new projects (there's a reason "spring cleaning" is a popular expression), so why not celebrate your desire to preserve personal history?

Grab a notebook, some photos, your favorite beverage and head out on to the back patio with me. Ah, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. Watch the shadows shift shape, admire the butterflies, birds and bees and let's start reminiscing.

Ok, open that notebook and write down a time from a previous May when you enjoyed a gathering of friends or families.

Oh, You Went to OU?

I recall Frisbee tossing on the college campus when I was a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma. I can hear the rock music from the open dorm room windows, I see the casual denim clad students with armfuls of books and almost smell the freshly mowed grass (no college pot-smoking jokes, please!).

Here's another: my three-year old daughter is toddling around our small backyard in Grand Rapids, Michigan, trying vainly to catch a tiny white butterfly. I'm smiling and letting the sun bounce off my shades as I turn towards the warmth, a wonderful feeling after another long, cold winter.

Taking Small Steps

The point of writing little vignettes is it gets you started on the action of telling your life story. It's a baby step - and we all know that a journey begins with the first step.

Many people want to write or tell their story. But, you know what usually happens. It starts out with grand plans and then you get sidetracked by the amount of work, the details and other pressing details. In other words, life gets in the way of the life story!

Although painfully obvious, the truth is nothing will happen if nothing happens. But, cheer up! I really believe that getting started is not that hard and since you're here right now you apparently have an interest in preserving some personal history. It can be done, it doesn't have to be real hard and there's plenty of help at hand.

The field of life story preservation is growing. People are more and more interested in telling their stories and today there are more ways to do it. This is fantastic and so very important! Families and friends need to know about you. You need to know about you. Your life story is a way to accomplish both.

Personal History Awareness Month

The month of May is celebrated by the Association of Personal Historians (APH) as Personal History Awareness month. The over 600 member - and rapidly growing- organization is dedicated to helping others preserve their personal histories and life stories. You can visit their website and find lots of good information and a member database to search for a personal historian who is right for you and your story.

I am a member and I've received valuable help from the group. At the 2003 convention in Denver it was like a noisy and friendly big family. This is one lively bunch!

If you spend the time exploring the Your Life is Your Story web site you will see that there are many ways to tell you story and lots of resources. Consider an APH member when it's time to commit to your life story project.

And make the time to write down some more of those merry memories. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the recollections.



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