My passion for personal history was born of my forever love for life stories. You know, the ones that Grandma and Grandpa told—over and over again. The ones handed down through generations. Stories gleaned from old diaries, letters and photographs. Reminiscences about family eccentrics. Short and long eulogies. Biographies of the famous—and infamous. For me, stories paint portraits of the lives of individuals and collectively of families, nations, and humanity.
I was the little listener when the old folks sat on the porch Sunday afternoons talking about members of the community, the living and the long deceased. My maternal grandfather was a Baptist minister and in essence the African griot of our rural community. All of this gave me a strong sense of my own history and pride in my heritage. It was within this oral tradition that the stories of my people simply flowed into my veins.
Our world was small then and we felt no need to write our stories; we assumed the storytellers would always be with us. Then we children of the 1940s and 1950s began to move away. As time passed, occasionally we were called to return to celebrate the homegoing of the elders we left behind. We always had to hurry back to jobs in Saint Louis, New York City and Los Angeles. We had little time to write anything down, but we did begin to realize that our memories of our rich heritage as told to us as children were fading. The oral tradition by itself could no longer satisfy our need to remember and connect with the people that produced us or with those who will follow.
Our documented stories are our contributions to the wholeness of our descendants. My passion is documenting the history of individuals, groups and community organizations.
Education and Experience:
I have a Master of Science degree in adult continuing education and a Master of Arts degree in management. I have had several special writing courses and have done biographical research, including genealogy. I have guided several clients in the documentation of personal histories and have provided free personal history guidance to senior groups and residents of a nursing home.