Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
...and whatever else catches our fancy of personal
Back to the Highlight Site Again
May 28, 2020
For years I have featured on this website a place to highlight certain
life story services, those that provide ways to preserve your story or
encourage people to do something to tell their story. I call it the Highlight Site.
Over the years I've featured journal writing software, life story
websites, family history products, personalized journal mile markers,
sites about preserving a legacy or using the arts. From memoirs to
sharing memories, there are many places on the web that can help you
with your life story journey.
You can check out the current featured site here and also see past highlight sites.
Memorial Day Taps Across America
May 25, 2020
This year's Memorial Day tributes have been affected by the Covid 19
situation. No gatherings at national cemeteries to lay wreaths or flags
and the usual parades and other events where there would be crowds are
not officially taking place. However, there were some interesting ways
to honor those that gave their lives in war.
One of those was Taps Across America. Retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva (Taps for Veterans) and CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman came up with the idea as noted in this report.
Hartman spoke of another bugler, Don Britton, who each day in
Tacoma, Washington would go outside at sunset and play "Taps" for
the fallen soldiers. His neighbors would come out, some standing on
their decks, all at attention silently and solemnly joining in this
beautiful act of rememberance.
The history of the iconic bugle melody for taps
stetches all the way back through the years to July 1862. Union General
Daniel Butterfield reworked the standard bugle call the Army used to
indicate time for bed. He had his brigade bugler, Private Oliver Wilcox
Norton, play it for the men. It soon caught on, even with Confederate
So today at 3 pm, across the United States, buglers joined in playing
Taps. A very memorable and special way to pay tribute on this year's
Play Time for the Stay At Home
May 21, 2020
Since so many of us are spending nearly all of our time at home, away
from other friends and family, figuring out how to spend our time, and
probably having ongoing anxiety about the future, I think your playtime
Because we live in a time where there are plenty of technological
wonders the draw of social media and online gaming is strong.
Nevertheless, I suggest we all can benefit from getting offline some of
the time and opening ourselves up to imaginative play.
Who hasn't seen little kids spend time playing with empty boxes or pots
and pans? Grab some paper and make airplanes. Color, draw, doodle and
enjoy the process.
Cards and board games are timeless. Even the chestnut "I spy with my little eye" can be a hoot.
I actually wrote about this back in October, 2005, pre-coronavirus
pandemic, when I felt it important that we nurture our family
relationships. Let Us Play is worthy of another look. Check it out and then let the games begin!
Experiencing Life and Preserving Those Experiences
May 13, 2020
We are living in a time when the ability to preserve our life
experiences is greatly assisted through technology. Smart phones,
tablets, computers, video recorders, websites, the Internet, the Cloud
(which still mostly mystifies me) and probably some other things that I
am not mentioning.
Back in the day people might have used cassettes, reel to reel tape,
bulky and clumsy video recorders, or even further back archaic forms
like pen and pencil!
Technology advances so quickly and what will come along 10, 20 or 30 years in the future will probably boggle our minds.
I wrote an article related to this topic in which I muse about both the technology and the importance of why
we need to preserve our life experiences. I think some of it applies
well to what we are all going through right now with our
stay-at-home/social distancing situation due to the coronavirus.
Travel back with me to June of 2016 and see if the article, Experience Life and Live to Write About It, speaks to you.
May 5, 2020
There are many jobs in the world. The key is to find the ones that
become more than a job.
When they become a vocation it no longer feels like work; it feels like
you have found your purpose.
I've had many jobs in my life. And a couple of careers for which I am
grateful. When I began working in radio broadcasting in college and
that led to over thirty years and multiple stations and markets it was
an absolute adventure. It was exciting, fun and sometimes very
In 2009, after several months of unemployment (recall the 2008
recession which led to my layoff), I embarked on the path that led to
becoming a certified school teacher. Ten years into it and I still
think it is the hardest and most rewarding work I've ever done.
I may not be done with my vocations. There is still the writer in me
spinning my thoughts and ideas into essays, stories and blog posts. And
one thing I know for certain on this year's National
Teacher Day is that I am combining a bit of
broadcasting, storytelling and writing in the work of educating my
But this post is not so much about me as it is about another man that I
discovered could be living my dream life. He is also a teacher, but he
has a part-time job as the public address announcer for the Boston Red
Sox at Fenway Park. Anyone who knows me is well aware that the Red Sox
are my favorite team and have been since I was about 11 years old. So
to discover Henry Mahegan's story today on the Boston Red Sox Sox
Docs feature was incredible.
He was being celebrated by the team because he is a teacher as well as
a Red Sox employee and today they wanted to salute one of their own who
has that passion both for baseball and for teaching young people.
Mister Mahegan is a history teacher at Charlestown High School and Community
School. But back in 2004 he got an entry level position with the Red
Sox in media relations and eventually became the backup PA announcer.
The front office liked his voice. When the previous announcer, Carle
Beane, passed away he was offered the job. He's been part of the team's
World Series Championships in 2004, 2007 and 2013 and he really is
living a life that combines his two great loves of baseball and
I congratulate Mister Mahegan and all teachers. Passing on experience,
hope and knowledge to young people is such an incredible act of love.
Hard? You bet. Worth it? Absolutely!
Death and Data
May 4, 2020
Every day on the news we are presented with death and data. The
pandemic of Covid-19 has our attention and we are probably becoming
accustomed to the numerous charts displaying new cases, deaths,
recoveries and more.
We need numbers. We need data. We use statistics to help us understand
quantities. But math is hard and viewing large numbers displayed on
numerous charts and graphs can sometimes desensitize us to what they
represent. That's not good when it represents people dying.
Every person in a data report still represents a human being, someone
with thoughts, feelings, desires, values and, well, a history. We must
not forget that.
So while we are dealing with this historic time let's remember that a
quantity of one is still as important as a thousand, at least when it
comes to a human life. Afterall, is one life more important than
another? Maybe I shouldn't ask that; some people think so.
Statistics and numbers - basically data - are important as a means to
understanding certain things. It's true with our life stories. If I
want to tell others about the US Festival in 1982 it helps if I can
relay that it lasted three
days and there were crowds of 200,000.
If your story includes an experience of beating the odds we might want
to know just what those odds were. 10 to 1? A thousand to one?
I got the inspiration for this blog post after reading Writing about the dead during a pandemic:
'They are not a data point'. The
article by Katie Pellico and Brian Stelter of CNN Business spoke about
how the Chicago Tribune was handling the massive number of obituaries
due to the coronavirus. That paper, and many others across the country,
have been grappling with how to convert the death toll statistics of
Covid-19 into human stories. Everyone has a story - and everyone
deserves the right for their story, if possible, to be told.