Life Story Links: October 17, 2018

PHOTO: Wallenda Family Album Picture, 1962. Photographed by Robert W. Kelley for LIFE magazine. ©Time Inc.

PHOTO: Wallenda Family Album Picture, 1962. Photographed by Robert W. Kelley for LIFE magazine. ©Time Inc.


“Here’s the deal. The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed—to be seen, heard, and companioned exactly as it is.”

Parker J. Palmer


Stay Curious

A longtime social worker and photographer turns his lens on seniors out and about in the Big Apple, and his interest invites stories from all walks of life.

A holiday gift idea, perhaps? Tree of Life Legacies’ April Bell has introduced the Life Legacy Card Deck with 52 prompts for values-based storytelling.

Conducting family interviews is a great way to gather the stories of family elders and preserve family history for the next generation—here, four ideas to get you going.

Digging in to Family History

“Humans love stories, and genealogy is essentially a gradual reading of the grandest, most compelling story of all time,” Roman Kraft writes in his ode to discovering family history.

Denise Levenick, aka The Family Curator, describes how to use “the parking lot system” to organize old photos in your family collection.

An Ulster-Scots family goes on a journey back in time to discover what life was like for their ancestors at the turn of the 19th century.

“With both of my parents gone it is getting much harder to collect the stories from their lives,” writes Jay Lenkersdorfer in a local newspaper column. “Each memory is perishable and should be treated as though it will soon expire...”

...and a Few More Links

  • A new website aims to build a database of music that's effective at triggering memories for dementia patients.

  • Storytelling as a form of healing

  • An in-depth review of Kiese Laymon’s “startlingly open” and “raw” new memoir, Heavy


Short Takes

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I admit that I am not as good at organizing my own family history items and memorabilia as I am at managing my clients'. 😔 These tags were shuttled from box to box over the years after my mother then my grandmother died, and somehow I always assumed they were my grandfather's military dog tags. One day recently, while on a cleaning binge, I realized that they in fact belonged to my mom and uncle—neither of whom was ever in the military. So I did some digging and learned that they are Civil Defense Identification Tags—metal ID tags issued to students by their schools during World War II. New York City’s public school system was the first to issue the identification tags in February 1952, spending $159,000 to provide them to 2.5 million students—my mother and uncle clearly among them. We tend to think of childhood in the fifties as being carefree and innocent, but with the advent of the Cold War and Russia's nuclear arms, there was also a sense of fear that pervaded American life. My mother told me about the "duck and cover" drills they did at her school, but seeing these tags makes me wonder how "real" it all was to her... * * * ** * * * * * * * * * #familyhistory #civilidentificationtags #dogtags #dogtag #nycschools #nyc #1950s #fifties #nostalgia #ww2 #WWII #coldwar #familyrelic #tellyourstory #lifestories #legacy #kidsdogtags #siblings #waryears #duckandcover #1951 #1952

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