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Read about quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products, links, services

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April, 2006

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April 26, 2006

It is not just sad, but wrong, how society sometimes treats its elders. You could get the impression that getting old is bad and that at a certain point the elderly should be shuffled off and kept out of sight.

The treasure of age, and the accompanying life wisdom, contain great value that should be honored and passed on to others, especially younger people. To stay vibrant in to the sunset years is possible and I was excited to read about a group of people who have created some places to age gracefully. Age Song senior communities has designed assisted living centers that are in the heart of urban areas. The therapeutic environments are complimented by a spirited staff and holistic programming that cares for physical as well as social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

It started as something of a family affair. Three brothers — Nader, Ali and Amir Shabahangi scraped all their money and incurred credit card debt to create their first elder assisted living community. Now the success is recognized and their company is growing and you can read their wonderful story here in the San Francisco Chronicle's

April 25, 2006

One of the most influential people in developing southern rock, as well as a great friend, manager and music lover, has passed away. Phil Walden, the founder of Capricorn Records, died of cancer at the age of 66. He was instrumental in launching the career of Otis Redding (best known for the song, "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay") who died tragically in a plane crash in 1967. He was not just Redding's manager, but a good friend. According to Redding's widow, Zelma Redding, Walden's passion for black music made him "the little white boy who everybody was wanting to beat up on."

Walden also took Duane Allman under his wing. Duane died tragically too young from a motorcyle accident in 1971 (he was only 24 at the time), but the Allman Brothers were on the map and Phil continued to support him and many others through his career.

He started Capircorn Records in the small Georgia town of Macon. I grew up listening to much of the music on that label, which also featured the Charlie Daniel's Band, Marshall Tucker and Wet Willie.

All was not easy in Walden's life. He dealt with bankruptcy and overcame substance abuse. I know a few people in the record industry from my years in radio broadcasting, and those who knew and worked with him said he was quite the gentleman. He supported Jimmy Carter in his run for the presidency and in later years had a small record label, Velocette, with the entire staff made up of Waldens, including his son, Phillip Jr., and daughter, Amantha.

"Phil was one of the preeminent producers of great music in America," former president Jimmy Carter said in a statement.

This Rolling Stone article on Phil Walden is a good read.

April 22, 2006

This weekend is quite the celebration in the city I live in. Albuquerque is three hundred years old and the festivities are well underway for our Tricentennial!

Albuquerque was founded April 23, 1706 when Spanish governor Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes wrote a letter that established the Villa deAlburquerque de San Francisco Xavier del Bosque. What a mouthful! Today it's just Albuquerque, although residents sometimes refer to our city as the Duke City, or 'Burque (roll the r's).

One of the things the city has done for our 300th birthday is create a visual timeline on a wall in the Convention Center downtown. The timeline creator Tom Miles put 600 years of concentrated history into 4-by-16 feet. Quite an accomplishment. Timelines are a great way to see a variety of events and dates and give some perspective. This timeline contains a lot of information including the various settlers through the years (Spanish, Filipino, Chinese, Syrian and Lebanese and Bolsheviks among them), as well as marking significant historical events recent and past. There was the bloody Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and the starting of Microsoft by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 (yes, they started it here, not in Seattle).

Happy birthday, Albuquerque! | more on the Tricentennial at the official website - |

April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

April 10, 2006

Picture this - photographs of locals in a very small town in Iowa, 21 years apart, is a way they are displaying their personal history. Interesting? You bet! See the story, "An Iowa Town's Story told In Portraits 21 Years Apart", from the NY Times here.

April 6, 2006

Telling your story and preserving it in writing can be done in varied ways (as I discuss throughout this website). However, some people are often in situations that make it difficult to do this. Finances are frequently a consideration. But, there are also those who are in institutions, assisted living or incarcerated. Their stories are just as important as anyone else's.

Paula Yost, a successful Personal Historian and member of the Association of Personal Historians (APH) recently posted to our email discussion information about a fascinating and positive program for women in prison in Texas.

"Truth Be Told is a non-profit organization devoted to helping women behind bars in Texas tell their stories through an evolving curriculum of classes within prison walls that integrate the expressive arts of public speaking, writing and movement with a guided process of personal storytelling. Another venture involves letter writing between incarcerated women and Truth Be Told volunteers. Spiritual awareness also plays a role in this program."

See more about this great program at

April 3, 2006

A new study conducted for the MetLife Mature Market Institute finds one in five older working Americans say they will never retire. I probably fall into that category and for the same reasons others gave. The continuing need to work for financial reasons or the desire to stay active. Of course, I think that the personal history business is a great way to work late into my life as people's stories and life experiences grow with age.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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