by Larry Lehmer
So many stories, so little time.
That's why very few of us have tackled the task of preserving our own life stories for our children, grandchildren and generations to come. But, just as we enjoy stories about our grandparents and their life journeys, our grandchildren will someday expect the same from us.
There are many ways to get started. If you've kept a diary or journal at some point in your life, you're well ahead of most of us. Even though I once helped others save their stories in my role as a personal historian, I've never been much of a diarist myself. But, in an effort to “walk the walk,” I’ve started working on my own memoirs.
The system I’m using is simple: I have a three-ring binder filled with loose-leaf notebook paper. Each sheet has a heading in the upper-right corner that places it chronologically ("high school years," "1956," "service years," etc.) When I have a few moments and am in a reflective mood, I start jotting things down. With this system, it's easy to rearrange pages to keep things in the right order. Even if I never polish up my writing later, my family will at least have this written record of the things in my life that were memorable to me.
What are you doing to save your own history for future generations?
AARP Iowa volunteer Larry Lehmer is a retired Des Moines Register editor and author of The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. He is currently working on a book about the Philadelphia years of American Bandstand. You can read his Bandstand blog here.
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