“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”
Time Is of the Essence
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
In the process of saving family histories, procrastination not only steals time, it steals stories from future generations. A cautionary tale with a true sense of urgency this holiday season from Pam Pacelli-Cooper of Cambridge-based Verissima Productions.
“SOMEDAY” IS TODAY
Meet Josh: He plans to write his biography someday. Yet he has told his adult kids none of his life stories. How about you—are you waiting for “someday,” too?
When Family Stories Are Painful
FAMILY HISTORY & SHAME
Growing up, Julie Lindahl felt an indescribable guilt, a feeling she could never understand. Once she discovered that her grandfather had been a brutal SS officer during World War II, she decided to devote her life to digging into the truth. Unlocking the secrets of her family showed Julie the worst, and then the best, of humankind.
“Shame, you can’t contribute anything, but responsibility, you can do a lot with,” she says. “It’s a challenging story, but one that gives me a great deal of hope…”
Lindahl is the founder of Stories for Society, a nonprofit that works with storytelling for learning and communication. Her memoir, The Pendulum, will be published in September 2018, and is currently available to educators in a shorter version.
THE PERSPECTIVE OF YEARS
“Considering that my parents were children of The Great Depression and I was of the much more prosperous post–World War II generation, it was, perhaps, inevitable that we wouldn’t always see things eye to eye,” writes Des Moines-based personal historian Larry Lehrer. “Of course, I lost most clashes with Dad, many of them ending with ‘because I say so.’” Lehrer remembers his dad with a new perspective on the 97th anniversary of his birth.
Books & Beyond
MAKING WORDS WORK
Memoir writers in need of an editor will be interested in Sarah Sally Hamer’s primer on the different types of editing that shape a book. In this installment, the Louisiana-based writing teacher talks about line editing—“where, finally, you make it pretty.”
A LIFE WORTH REMEMBERING
“Honoring a life well-lived doesn’t just benefit the younger generations—it empowers the elders themselves, and in the process, assigns meaning to their life and permanence to their story.” Forbes highlights The Role of Family Historians in Preserving Wealth by Defining a Legacy.