Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Every Life Has a Story" Seminar Summary

"Who would want to know about my life? I haven't done anything."

We often hear this lament when we encourage people to talk or write about their life stories, yet every person has a unique story - one that belongs only to them, and that, in most cases, has not been told to anyone. The stories can include the life events, the hardships, the joys, the experiences, the loves, the people they've met, the places they've been.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) seminar on Saturday, 24 October at Fredericka Manor (a Chula Vista retirement community), was designed to encourage CVGS members, Fredericka residents and community members to share their personal stories with their friends and family.

Our host, Betsy Keller of Fredericka Manor, welcomed the 70 attendees, and then drew tickets for about twenty door prizes. Betsy introduced the CVGS President, Gary Brock, who provided a short description of CVGS activities, and introduced Barbara Ibaibarriaga, the CVGS Programs chairperson. Barbara introduced the program speaker, Susan Walter of Chula Vista.

Susan Walter spoke about "Every Life Has a Story." She talked about her grandmother's life, and played an audio tape that revealed that her grandmother was the May Day Queen for her high school class. Her grandmother had many interesting experiences as a girl, wife and mother and grandmother, and Susan shared stories, pictures, artifacts and a scrapbook.

She noted that every person has wonderful, and occasionally horrid, stories that can be used to reach out to younger generations. Susan told her own story of "The Trip from Hell" - a 30-hour train and bus trip from Guadalajara to San Diego after her plane ticket was stolen.

Susan noted that for your own story, you know all of the characters, you've done all of the "research," use all of your senses, you don't need to start at the beginning - just start telling or writing stories about your life experiences. Some people find it easier to talk about their life stories, others think it is easier to write them down. Whichever way works best - the point is to share your life stories with your family and friends that care about you.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society wants to help members and community people tell their stories - they are willing to make tape recordings of family stories, transcribe them and provide them in a digital format for posterity.

After the talk, the attendees were assigned to tables for a delicious lunch in the Fredericka Dining Room. Each table had a Fredericka host and a CVGS host - and all were encouraged to tell some of their life stories while feasting on soup, salad, quiche lorraine, turkey sandwiches, and dessert.

It was a fun and interesting day, with a wonderful talk and a great lunch.


footnoteMaven said...

As you know, I write about my own life stories as often as I do those of my ancestors.

I always stop to think about the things I would want to know about the stories of my ancestors and then tell those stories about Me.

Mostly it is the simple things that make the best stories.

I love that you are recording. How I would love to hear the voices.


Lynn Palermo said...

One thing is certain, genealogy today is teaching us all how important it is to document our own stories. Imagine if our ancestors had taken the time, how much richer our history would be today.