Last week I had the privilege of talking about writing with clients and volunteers at a local hospice.
My husband's grandfather had a rich and varied life that spanned two continents, and before he died, he wrote a detailed family history from the time he was a boy. My mother-in-law then translated it into English, added old photographs at appropriate points, then had it printed and bound for every family member who wanted one.
It's a fabulous history of several generations that my children treasure. I wish I had something similar from my own side of the family, but unfortunately my parents didn't tell many stories about their growing up years.
My mom was evacuated during WWII in England and she told us later that Dad had never wanted her to talk about it, because he didn't want us, as children, to worry that it might happen to us.
For my own children, I wrote little notes to them every few days, or weeks, from the time they were infants until they were old enough to start recording their own memories. I compiled them into scrapbooks alongside photographs, and news articles of events of the day such as the Berlin wall being torn down and the first Iraqi war.
With changing technology, journals, letter-writing and the occasional photograph, which were once treasure troves of history for future generations, have given way to blogs and emails and digital images that are as fleeting as the delete button, a crashed hard drive, or changing computer platforms. While on the one hand the internet gives us unprecedented access to historical documents that preservationists have made into digital copies, our personal histories, it seems to me, have become somewhat less secure...as anyone who's lost a hard drive full of photos can attest.
Your Turn: Are you doing anything special to help pass along your experiences and memories to future generations?
Sandra Orchard writes romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense and Revell Publishing (DeadlyDevotion debuts June 2013). Married with three grown children, she lives in rural Niagara, Canada, where many of her novels are set. She enjoys offering her readers bonus features to enhance their experience of her books. You can check out these, along with other resources for readers and writers, at her website: http://www.SandraOrchard.com or connect at: http://www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard