A couple of nights ago we had some neighbors over for dessert. As is often the case, people ask how the business is going, and that invariably turns to them talking about their personal or family history (side note: owning Legacy Tale is a great way to get people to share personal and family stories). The wife stated that, other than one high school yearbook, they had no childhood pictures of her husband.
That was shocking. Granted, before everyone had a camera in their pocket, pictures were less common, but NO childhood pictures? They clarified that pictures exist, but they don’t have any. His mother has all family pictures safely stored in a trunk in her attic. Over the years, family members have tried- unsuccessfully- to borrow the pictures so they could be scanned, but she won’t allow it. She will let them see the pictures, but they can’t leave her house.
Obviously, leaving the pictures there isn’t acceptable long term, but most alternatives were deemed a bit too disrespectful to be acceptable, either. Those ideas included a covert rescue operation, having one person distract her (i.e. take her out to dinner) while another borrowed the trunk, then later returning it the same way. In the end, with our encouragement to take action, our neighbors decided that next time they go to visit, they will go through the trunk and take pictures of the pictures.
While that’s not ideal, it’s certainly better than nothing. Interestingly, however this ends up, it is the type of story to include in a personal history. My neighbor will be able to tell his kids and grandkids about how his mother held all his pictures hostage and how they were ultimately “rescued.” Those odd, humorous types of stories are perfect for personal histories. So ask yourself, “What strange, non-embarrassing (factual) stories can I include in my personal history?”
Don’t leave your tale untold…