Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sandra Orchard here.

Last week I had the privilege of talking about writing with clients and volunteers at a local hospice.

The picture depicts my daughter and I with a few of the wonderful volunteers. I loved hearing how clients were writing stories and journals and poems to pass on to loved ones.

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 While on the one hand the internet gives us unprecedented access to historical documents that preservationists have made into digital copies, our personal histories, it seems to me, have become somewhat less secure...as anyone who's lost a hard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


  1. Sandra, what a great story. My husband's family actually have bound books, very thick, that tell the geneology back almost 200 years. Much of it's in Swedish, though, so we can't read it LOL

    I keep meaning to write down my history for my son. You've just reminded me why.

  2. Yeah, so glad I prompted you. :) It would be wonderful if someone could translate your Swedish family history. That is so cool!

  3. Sandra, what a treasure your family has! My grandparents wrote down a great deal, and my grandfather taped many of his life experiences, including WW2 in the South Pacific. In the next generation, my mother is going through photographs to note who is in them and where they were taken. That has inspired me to do the same with printed photographs, but you're right. So many of my pictures are digital and only a hard-drive crash away from loss. Yikes! I'm going to back them up right now.

  4. Oh, tapes of WW2 in the South Pacific. How cool?! I love watching old home movies. They are such wonderful slices of life. I'm glad I've prompted you to back up your digital photos. My duty for the day is done. :)

  5. I worked many long hours on my parents story when Sarah was an infant. They gifted it to all of us, and I know there is something out there about my Mom's family, but I do not have a copy of it.
    I have a box full of pictures of our lives, I expect I should take the time to go through them, and write a history at the same time....lol

  6. How wonderful to have your parents story! Your own will be really rich with the varied places you've lived...a fun history to pass on to the grandkids...when they come. :)

  7. How wonderful to have your family history saved so beautifully, Sandra. I have a box of pictures from my parents, but there are so many faces I don't recognize.

    I used to take and develop myriads of photos. Now, with digital cameras, the shots are stored in my computer, which you mentioned. As technology changes, I wonder how long I'll be able to access those "old" files. I prefer hard copy.

    If only there were more hours in the day...

  8. One year I gave hubby a "13 hour" clock for Christmas to get him those extra hours...didn't work. :) We've already experienced the challenges of tech. changes around here. My childhood movies were on 8 mm film, which a videographer, videotaped onto Beta videos which soon went by the wayside. Converting to VHS, of course, lowered the quality all the more, and with VCRs going by the way, we'll soon have to convert to DVDs! But they seem to be obsoleting too. :(

  9. Great post, Sandra--and how wonderful you have that family history book from your husband's side. That is a great idea. ~ One of my "Winter projects" (LOL...will soon be a "Spring project" I suppose) is to go through tons of photos--many that I've taken and many I got from my Parents' house after they both passed away. Then I plan on compiling scrapbooks and generally organizing them. As Debby G. said...if there were only more hours in the day! Hugs, Patti Jo

  10. Sounds like a lovely project, Patti Jo.

  11. Sandra, what a wonderful thing to have that book!

    I back up all my photos to an external hard drive. I also have an off site backup service. I don't want to lose all the photos!

  12. My kids and I claim our writing gifts from my father who wrote down the stories of his youth as well as creating a volume on the family genealogy.

    I need to get my in-laws to do the same!

    Peace, Julie


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