My personal history business is built around the premise that every family has stories that are worth saving for future generations.
As we grow up, we are continuously exposed to the strange meanderings of slightly off-center relatives, the accomplishments of more inspirational ancestors and the tawdry gossip of all manner of personal relationships – proper and improper. A personal historian collects those stories and weaves them with other facts and details to create a rich tapestry of a family history.
I wrote about storytelling from the Nashville conference of the Association of Personal Historians last fall where I was treated to presentations from author Robert Hicks and history instructor James Walsh, but just last week I was reminded of the power of storytelling.
The reminder came in the form of a street person on the skywalks of Des Moines as I returned to my car following a basketball game. Street people retreat to the warmth of the skywalks each winter where they ply their trade of trying to coax a little hard cash from their marks.
Panhandling has come a long way since the “got any spare change?” days of my youth. One local guy has at least three elaborate stories in his repertoire, involving a broken down car (probably the most common in this area), a sick aunt and (my favorite) the valuable stock portfolio his broker has tied up until he can come up with the cash to release it.
I’m sure you’ve already nailed down the main storytellers in your family for your own history, but don’t forget those secondary storytellers, too. There are likely some undiscovered gems in your family’s past.
Some things you’d better know. Thomas MacEntee of the Destination: Austin Family blog has come up with a list of “10 Things Every Man Worth His Salt Should know How to Do.” How Thomas came up with this post without once mentioning duct tape is beyond me.
How popular is your name? I don’t think I had an elementary school class that didn’t have at least two Larrys in it. Today there are probably entire elementary schools without a Larry. Thanks to Name Voyager at Baby Name Wizard, I now know that Larry was the 18th most popular name in the 1950s but was No. 381 on the list in 2006. What about your name?