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Personal History Awareness Month – It’s Now!

May 14, 2015

Susan Marg

Within the past decade, Personal History Awareness Month – it’s May – was added to Chase’s Calendar of Events. Although this publication, first created in 1957, is now 752 pages and contains more than 12,000 entries worldwide, I think it says something that one of those entries highlights personal history.

illustration of head with colorful gears

illustration of head with colorful gears

As Sarah White, President of the Association of Personal Historians, says, “If you ever received something in writing from an ancestor ― a diary, a letter or better yet, a memoir ― you’ve already felt how important it is to preserve our stories for future generations.”

More and more folks are putting pen to paper, organizing their photos in a scrapbook, or recording their memories in a video. The popularity of memoirs as a type of literary non-fiction underscores how much we enjoy learning about other people. Their lives resonate with our lives. Alicia Florrick, the television character on which The Good Wife revolves, recently hired a ghostwriter to help with the task. While I have the feeling she’s deep shelving the project to return to the practice of law, that’s no reason for others to give up after an episode or two.

There’s help out there. The Association of Personal Historians, founded in 1995, has 600 members strong, who are devoted to helping those with an interest in preserving their past. If you want to do-it-yourself there are plenty of courses on-line or workshops at local community colleges.

So, clear your desk. Open your mind. And get ready to fill your thoughts with days gone by.

What? Nothing’s happening?!? That’s not possible.

What do you know about your parents and grandparents? What do you remember about growing up – your room, your school. your neighborhood? Are you on the path you want to be on? What mistakes do you keep making? What stories do you keep telling yourself? Do they share a common theme?

Examining your own life can make a difference, not only for future generations, but for yourself, as well. It’s all part of Personal History Awareness Month.

© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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