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

                     ...and whatever else catches the fancy of personal historian Tom Gilbert

June 2015

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You are Important and So Is Your Family History

Getting Started Special

June 29, 2015

I communicate with a lot of people about personal history and lifestory work. Two common themes emerge from a majority of these conversations: How do I get started? How much does it cost?

The discussion of fees is always a little dicey. Before a Personal Historian can quote your a fee we need to get an idea of the type and amount of work that will be involved. Interviews, transcription, writing, research and revision - this is just some of the work involved. It can be a lot of work, but the end result - preserving your life story - is invaluable.

Last week subscribers of my free Your Life Is Your Story newsletter were offered a "Getting Started Special". I am now extending that to everyone. It's an affordable way to begin and an opportunity for us to work together and for you to get something preserved and a better understanding of what is involved in life story work.

For a limited number of people I will record a 30 minute interview, transcribe it, and create an interesting and well written narrative. I would normally charge $300 for this type of project, but for a limited number of people I am offering it for just $100. Send me an email and I'll contact you to discuss how to proceed.

Here's to your story!

First Global Satellite Production Included Beatles and All You Need Is Love

June 25, 2015
Beatles global broadcast of All You Need Is Love
42 years ago today the first global satellite television event took place. It is most remembered for the Beatles debuting a song they wrote for the broadcast. "All You Need Is Love" still resonates today as a much needed positive message in our often troubled world. In 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War, it was particularly timely. The Beatles were the biggest rock band in the world and 400 million people in 26 countries watched.

As noted on the LiveLeak website, this event known as "Our World" included other artists like opera singer Maria Callas and artist Pablo Picasso. Nowadays it would be much easier to orchestrate this type of event, but in 1967 it was a bit revolutionary. The message of love is essential to us all. We all have the need to love and be loved. Thank you to the Beatles for this Throwback Thursday and their anthem 42 years ago today.

Father's Day and Then Some

June 22, 2015

Father's Day was yesterday. I hope it was good for all concerned. Sometimes this feels like a lost holiday among all the others, but Dads need a day, too!

I am blessed to be a son, brother, father and grandfather. As a Personal Historian I see how much more women seem to be concerned with family stories and our histories. It can be harder to get men to talk about their lives. Sure, there are the exceptions. Anybody got one of those "crazy" uncles with a million stories and a willingness to tell anybody and everybody about them?

Yesterday was more than Father's Day as a number of a n
otables converged on this June 21. It was also a birthday for one of my nephews. Joshua turned thirteen and enters teenage-dom! One of my other nephews, Shea, celebrated his first wedding anniversary yesterday. And it was the Summer Solstice, to boot. Hence the title of this post, Father's Day and Then Some.

One of the more intriguing Father's Day themed stories I came across, thanks to the intrepid members of the Association of Personal Historians (Facebook page here) Thanks to Stephanie Allen West for tipping us to the heartwarming tale, Artist Creates Ripples by Illustrating Father-Daughter Stories.

The writer of the article, Brittany Hodak, lost her father three years ago and it was close to Father's Day. He was only 51 and so it was much too soon. Her article caught the eye of Debasmita Dasgupta, an Indian artist who specializes in creating images based on inspiring Father-Daughter stories. It's a pretty cool story and the artwork is well worth viewing. I don't want to spoil the specialness of how global her work has become and the impact it is having. I will tell you her efforts are creating some real change in the world and I do hope you check this story out.

Invest in Your Legacy with Your Life Story

June 17, 2015

What could be more valuable to us that the stories of our lives shared with our family and friends, including future generations? I am sure there might be other things that rank high on our lists, but telling what life means to you, what it means to live in this time, how the experiences of your life have made you who you are, and what/who is important to you are incredibly important things to share. Especially when it is coming straight from you (in your words or as told to someone).

In a very real sense telling your life story is investing in your legacy. Personal History is part of the greater picture of the history of our times. 

100 Year Old School Blackboards Give Glimpse of the Past

June 13, 205

A school in Oklahoma has been remodeling and when the workers tore out the old chalkboards on the walls so they could install new sophisticated interactive smartboards a remarkable discovery was made.

Behind the old chalkboards were previous blackboards with amazingly preserved chalk lessons, drawings and writing. It is like an unintentional time-capsule. Beautiful cursive writing and admonitions for good living had Emerson High School Principal Sherry Kishore commenting, “It was almost like a spiritual moment because people who had lived and played and worked in here ... a part of them is preserved.”

See the story written by Tim Willert for The Oklahoman.

Remembering Ray Charles

June 11, 2015

Ray Charles3It was about this time eleven years ago that the great Ray Charles passed away. He was quite the singer and performer and I am grateful that I saw him one time in concert. The man was blessed with enormous talent. Ray was great at blues, R&B, soul, Country, Jazz - heck, he
could really turn a phrase regardless of the genre. He also didn't let his blindness hold him back.

Throwback Thursday (#TBT) to June 10, 2004 for my blog post.

Finding Life Story Resources and Assistance

June 8, 2015

Where do you go when you need to find help preserving your life story? Perhaps you've asked yourself that question. Chances are good that is why you are on this website!

Help is available in a lot of places. The Internet makes it possible to search for personal historians, writing resources, online workshops and so much more. The world we live in is wired and connected.

Yet so many of us are not connected to our story. The story of our lives - the experiences that have formed us, shaped us and influence us as we continue to live our lives. Many people really want to preserve this personal history in order to better understand it and share their life journeys with others.

If you haven't yet discovered beneficial resources like The MemoryGrabber, The Memoir Network, I'm a Story, and The Journal then by all means visit here for capsule summaries of these resources. You will also find out more about some of the other family history and life story resources I and others like me offer. Take some time to investigate and then take some action to tell your story. Everyone has a story and sharing your life values and lessons can benefit others as well as help you better understand your journey and purpose.

Recovering from Brain Injuries Helped by Storytelling

June 5, 2015

I came across an interesting story from The Guardian about how to better understand brain injury survivors - Brain injury survivors are storytelling their way to recovery. An online writing project, Who Are We Now? has the survivors of brain injuries sharing in their own words who they are, what happened to them and how their experiences have changed them.

The project uses oral history storytelling techniques, but the survivors also work on the end project, many of them developing some good hands-on skills in editing and designing. Additionally, some of the communication problems resulting from brain injuries are improved through the storytelling process.

Little AJ and Photo Memories

June 4, 2015

Little AJ and Photo memoriesA Throwback Thursday photo to wish my nephew, A.J., a happy birthday. It is hard to believe this fine young man is now 24 years old. He is a wonderful man and was a really fun kid. The son of Art Trujillo, my brother-in-law, continues to play good baseball while he finishes his college degree. It is his passion. Mine, too, although I never had the talent he does.

One of my fondest memories of A.J. was when he was around two years old. He and his dad visited us while we were in California and my daughter entertained him by running around the house with her hobby horse. Kristen was probably four. A.J. was in a playpen and Kristen would run by him on her little horsie, then around the corner and out of sight, only to reappear seconds later. This really cracked A.J. up and he would jump up and down and laugh. It was that infectious and contagious laugh that little kids do. A fond memory.

It really is not hard to recall and share stories about family members. Go through some old photographs and think about the memories they spark. Then jot down some notes. Do a little "time traveling" and visualize what took place when the photo was snapped. Pictures certainly enhance our written life stories. Even more, they can help you recall past times.

A Running Story Link to Show and Tell

June 1, 2015

Today I spent time with a half a dozen people at the Bear Canyon Estates Independent Living Community. It was an adult "Show & Tell" event to help promote personal history awareness and my sister and I had an opportunity to talk about some life experiences and show some treasured items that had stories connected to the life experiences. I felt like we helped these people appreciate that we all have a story to tell, maybe even a few stories, and that many of them are prompted by reflecting on an item shared with others.

One of the things I talked about was running my first half marathon (13.1 miles) and how that led to other half and full marathons. I did it in June 0f 2006, partly for the challenge, but mostly to honor my mother and brother-in-law, both cancer victims. I ran the San Diego Rock n' Roll (half) Marathon and I spoke about fundraising and training with Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They raise money for cancer research, a worthy cause.

When I returned home from today's "Show & Tell" event I heard on the news about another runner. She'd just completed her 15th San Diego Marathon. She is a cancer survivor and has been a supporter of
Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, raising over $90,000 for research. But that's not the most remarkable thing about her story. She is also 91 years old. Harriette Thompson set a record for her age, finishing the marathon in seven hours, seven minutes and 41 seconds. Quite remarkable. It is amazing that she could do this, amazing that she's survived cancer, and super amazing that she ran her first marathon at the age of 76! She has already made plans to run again next year. (see story)

Showing and telling about your personal history can be inspirational and very important to your mental and physical well-being. It also is a great thing to do for family and friends.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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