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The real family legacy is in the stories. At family get
togethers it is not uncommon for someone to start telling a story about
their youth, or how it was when they went into the military, or that
huge storm that shut down the city "back in the day". All
these stories can be fun to hear, but quite often today families don't
get a chance to do that. More often these days families are
spread out over different geographic regions and the times when they do
get together can be too infrequent or short to share quality time...and
Yet, these stories - our family histories - should and must be shared
and saved. Andrea Gross,
a personal historian, wrote about this in a just published article for
the St. Petersburg Times
One of the things she mentions is how inspiring it can be to do some of
your research at NARA,
the National Archives and Records Administration. I found
that to be an interesting coincidence, since I had just recently
attended a workshop put on by someone who works for NARA. I wrote about
it in the latest issue of the Your
Life is Your Story monthly ezine (you can read
The truth that many of the so-called "Baby Boomers" are awakening to
(and I count myself among them) is that while we have had
great dreams, with passions and desires to fulfill them, our careers
responsibilities have often gottenw in the way. "Life"
This doesn't mean we must discard our dreams. On the contrary, with our
maturity and life lessons we may now be better equipped to tackle them
in our second half of life. Sometimes we need help bringing
forth those dreams. Life story documentation and memoir
writing can certainly assist in those areas. One of the most powerful
ideas is to consider and write about Your Life Changing Event.
Chris Donner, a personal historian and fellow APH member
has an interesting blog where you can explore these Baby Boomer issues
and post your comments. See it here.
An article that appeared over the weekend in USA Today by Mary
Forsell under the section 5 Things You
Need to Know About has some short and smart tips for
writing your family history. These tips are things I've
recommended, as have many other personal historians. It's nice to see
them in a consise article in a publication of great size and reach.
It's another affirmation of the growing interest in family history.
See the article here.
The outstanding Association for Personal Historians will be holding their
13th annual conference this year in Nashville, Tennessee. The
event, November 8-12, promises to once again deliver high quality
workshops and presentations on all areas of life story preservation,
including written forms, oral history, digital recording, video
biographies and the various aspects that help one create and
maintain a succesful business as a personal historian.
The discount rate for the conference is good through this Wednesday
(8/15) and then the price goes up. Check out all the information online
Any baseball fan, in fact just about anyone watching the news, is aware
that a major milestone happened two days ago when Barry Bonds hit career home run number 756. That broke the record
Hammerin' Hank Aaron had a spectacular career and faced a lot of
pressure and even ridicule and racism when he was breaking Babe Ruth's
home run record. He was nothing but class in his video
congratulations message played on the giant screen at the San Francisco
Giants ballpark on August 7, 2007 after Bonds hit the home run.
Barry Bonds has been under lots of scrutiny and pressure for suspicion
of using performance enhancement drugs (i.e. steroids). Some
think if he did (he's never admitted it despite all the rumors and
allegations) that it taints the record.
Whether Bonds has been using substances banned by Major League Baseball
or not, it is still an historic occasion. That's a lot of
home runs. I think it was good that he hit it in front of the
home town fans.
From a life story perspective I find that it is another measuring point
in our timelines. For a lifetime baseball fan like myself it
is a reminder of a game I enjoyed playing in my youth and still enjoy
NBC rebroadcast the Emmy award-winning 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship today and as I watched it I was
really moved the number of
very inspiring stories. It's one thing for the amazing elite
athletes to not only endure, but conquer, the 140 mile event in Hawaii
(2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bicyling and running a full 26.2 mile
marathon). It's another thing entirely to watch those who
completed the event despite enormous odds and obstacles.
Sister Madonna Buder, at the age of 76, finished her 20th Ironman
triathlon! Army major and Iraq veteran David Rozelle finished his
first Ironman. He's the first war amputee to do
lost his right foot to a land mine in
Iraq in 2003.
Two other amazing stories of note were Brian Breen and "Team Hoyt".
Breen was competing in his first Ironman and doing it for Jon Blais,
a triathlete with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Blais actually was able
to finish the Ford Ironman in Hawaii in 2005, just 5 months after the
diagnosis of his afliction. But in 2006 his ALS was too far
advanced for him to compete. Breen was so inspired by Blais (known to
his fellow triathletes as the "Blazeman") that he struck up a
friendship with Blais, then entered and finished the Ironman.
Team Hoyt is
another amazing and inspiring story. Dick Hoyt's son, Rick,
born with cerebral palsy and is a non-vocal paraplegic. But
not a vegetable; he's smart and aware and Rick's father has
dedicated his life to making sure his son is included in as many
activities as he can. Together they have participated in many
marathons and triathlons. Dick Hoyt tethers a boat to his
and pulls his son in the swim, carries him in a modified front seat on
his bicycle and pushes him in a special racing wheelchair.
These incredible stories show us that despite setbacks and challenges
we are capable of achieving amazing things that motivate and insprire
others. It was especially poignant to me today as I was
the rebroadcast of last year's
Ford Ironman World Championship.
I was sore from my 20 mile training run (I'm entering my
marathon on September 2). But my pain paled as I watched
special athletes and special people.
Go for your dream. Don't let disabilities or setbacks stop you.
Live your life to the fullest and consider sharing your
The horrible news about the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in
on Wednesday reminds us once again how tenous life can be and how on
any given day
tragedy can strike (info here).
However, we can all be grateful that the disaster was not worse.
And out of this situation we again will see stories of
triumph as people go above and beyond to help those in need.
There is a very active group of personal historians in the Minneapolis
area. These Minnesotans belong to the APH (Association of Personal Historians) and they've done a lot to educate the public
importance of preserving their life stories. In particular,
the Got Stories
project has demonstrated how a group of life story
specialists can collaborate on projects. I, for one, will not
surprised to see in the future some compelling stories by this group
about people who witnessed or were touched personally by the collapse
of the Minnesota bridge.