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The Legacies/Solana Beach Youth/Elder Story Art Project in Northern
San Diego has matched up young people with local elders to preserve their
personal history. What a great project! It teaches young people about
personal history and they discover the treasure of life stories from elders.
I'm sure it is appreciated by the elders, too. The project honors the
community's elders and documents their contributions through art books
created by the students.
Here's a link to an article about this project at SignOnSanDiego.com.
Legacies is a cross-generational project produced by StoryArts Inc.,
a nonprofit group of artists and custom publishers based in Encinitas.
You can see more at their website - here.
I discovered this too late to tell you about in advance of the holiday,
but Thanksgiving 2005 was declared the second annual National Family History
Day by the Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H. He considers
your family history - your family health history - to be
very important. Yes, common sense tells us that we need to know what runs
in our families, particularly when it is a health concern.
Whenever families gather, the Surgeon General encourages them to talk
about, and to write down, the health problems that seem to run in their
family. Learning about your family's health history may help ensure a
longer future together. Certainly the holidays are an opportune time to
See more about the U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative
History tells us the first Thanksgiving was in 1691 at Plymouth
Rock when a ragtag group of surviving early settlers from Europe ate a
harvest meal with Native Americans who had helped them. What a strange
journey tradition has taken. Today many think it's all about turkey, football
At the heart of it Thanksgiving is about family and gratitude. About celebrating
living — through the good times and bad. Being grateful for what we
have instead of being obsessed with what we don't is the better way. Have
an attitude of gratitude.
Another year is coming to an end. What's it been like for you? Are you
going to share the journey with others, especially family members? A family
newsletter is a good way to do that. Find
Memoir writing continues to grow in popularity. A heartfelt written memoir
can touch others on a deep level, especially when it deals with loss and
grief. Joan Didion, an author whose most recent work is "The
Year of Magical Thinking" has received the National Book
Award for nonfiction for this memoir. The story deals with the sudden
death of her husband, writer John Dunne, who died while Didion tended
to her daughter's severe illness, and the couple's life together. Didion's
daughter passed away after the book was completed.
Do you remember the Television show "This is Your Life"?
Ralph Edwards would surprise guests by getting them to show up under
some other pretense and then have a number of friends come on and tell
stories and there was a general reminiscence on someone's life. While
most people remember it as a show that put a celebrity in the spotlight
it frequently had everyday people on. It was a very popular show and there
is even talk of it coming back in a new incarnation with Regis Philbin
Ralph Edwards was an esteemed broadcaster who started in radio at the
age of sixteen in the San Francisco area. He is best remembered as the
host of "This is Your Life" and also the game show, "Truth
or Consequences" until Bob Barker succeeded him. On a side note,
here in New Mexico a small town changed their name years ago to Truth
or Consequences because of the show. Mr. Edwards passed away in Los Angeles
on Wednesday at the age of 92. He's remembered as a gentleman as well
as a professional broadcaster.
The idea of "This is Your Life" certainly resonates with the
theme of this site. I'm always telling people that you have an interesting
life story - that your life is indeed your story!
The San Jose Mercury News has a fine tribute online to Ralph Edwards.
Read it here.
The Thanksgiving Holiday is only a week away! This year give thanks and
thought to your family gathering. Preserve some memories by more than
snapping a couple of photographs. Gather loved ones around and make time
to share stories. Run a tape recorder or write down notes. Better yet,
encourage everyone to write a short (one page or so) essay on what they
are thankful for or what their favorite Thanksgiving memory is.
The Association of Personal Historians held their annual conference recently. This
year the conference was in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I lived there for a few
years and it is a good city in Western Michigan with many solid citizens
that support the community and culture. Unfortunately, business obligations
kept me away from the conference, but I've seen much praise from members
who did attend. The Grand Rapids Press wrote an article about the
conference and the growing APH (now well over 500 members) that you
can see here.
The growing use of video for life story recollections was profiled in the
November 3 issue of the Arizona Daily Star, including a nod to Steve
Pender of Family Legacy Video, Inc. (a past highlight site
of Your Life is Your Story - here).
You can see that article here.
The increasing media attention to personal history preservation shows that
the trend is growing and I don't see that slowing any time soon. There are
lots of ways to tell your story and I hope you are exploring them.
Veteran's Day is a day to remember all those members of the Armed
Forces who have served over the years. Many have mad the ultimate sacrifice
and given their lives.
War should always be a last resort and it never seems to really bring
a spirit of peace. Nonetheless, the many veterans of wars have some powerful
experiences and preserving them is part of the Veterans History Project. I've featured it before as a past highlight
site and you can see that info here.
Everybody has a story to tell!
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