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November 19, 2012

Older Adults: Memories Are the Legacy We Leave Our Families

Ancient civilizations revered their storytellers. It was the lifework of the storyteller to record the clan’'s births and deaths, chronicle daily life and extraordinary events, memorialize tragedies and triumphs, and, most importantly, pass the clan history down to the next generation. Centuries ago, adults and children crowded around to listen as storytellers brought to life the people and events that shaped the clan, ensuring that the past would not be forgotten. 

The New Storytellers 

Books, film, and computers may have replaced the oral storytellers of older adults, but our need for storytellers has not diminished. We still need people to remember our history and pass those memories down through the generations. The Tom Brokaws and Ken Burns of our day do an excellent job of chronicling our collective experience, but we are in danger of losing the family histories that provide the fascinating personal details that breathe life into the larger picture. 

Precious Memories 

When our parents are gone, who will remember the names and stories of the people who smile out of the black and white photos in the old family albums? If we do not pick up the torch, who will tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren what life was like for us? Who will recount the old family stories of times gone by? With each passing generation, another few pages of precious family history are lost. 

Leaving a Legacy 

As the candles on our birthday cakes grow in number, it is natural to think about the legacy we will some day pass on to our children. Cherished possessions, family heirlooms, property, and wealth often come to mind when we consider our legacy. But perhaps the most important gifts we can offer our families are the memories that pave the path leading from our past into the future. 

Join us next time as we discuss memory-sharing ideas. 

Want to learn more about your family history? When you are a resident at Kendal at Oberlin, you can join the genealogy interest group. To learn more, contact us today

Photo: Allegro Photography

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