What can you do with all those photos and memories that you've been accumulating for so many years?
Do you know you've been writing history?
If you're working on organizing your photos and memories, you might want to set aside some – or all – of them to compile into a book that might be passed on to your children and grandchildren. We all have memories and experiences that we'd like to share with our families; but, too often time and opportunity are difficult to find. But inevitably as youngsters start to mature and begin to look for ties with the past. They start to look for family trees. They want to know what it was really like to serve in a war or join a hippy commune, or…..
Sure they learned about these kinds of things in their history books. But history books are dry and unconnected and they leave too much of the human experience untold.
No children? That's ok. What about that wonderful background of your community where you've lived. Historical Societies throughout the country archive local events and offer a wealth of insight into the life of your community as it evolves and matures. You most likely know a great deal about the buildings, have pictures of those that were at one time significant. Your pictures include vital information on how people dressed, the cars they drove, the parades and picnics and public events they attended. Perhaps you knew prominent residents living in and working in your neighborhoods.
You have lived through one of the most dynamic centuries in the history of the world. You saw the birth of the internet, the development of a massive system of toll roads that interconnects towns and cities throughout the country. You know what it was like when families thrived on the earnings of a single breadwinner while women stayed home and raised the children. And you adapted when families no longer had that luxury.
These are just a few of the things that you hold locked in your memory and heart…things that in the not too distant future others will be anxious to learn about. You have the capacity of keeping your history alive for future generations.
It's never too soon to start organizing and cataloging all these.
Ultimately you might want to put your notes and photos into a book. You don't need to think fancy. Hand-written notes kept in a three-ring binder are as valuable as a fully-published book. If you do want to publish, recognize that it's ok if the book doesn't hit the best seller list – it probably won't unless you've achieved some level of notoriety.
But that isn't really your intent, is it? You want to speak from the heart. You want to take the reader by the hand and tell the story of the world as you saw it in your lifetime and share your own observations and experiences with the reader. Just remember, the more detailed and the more useful information you can give your reader, the better.
You really don't need to be a professional writer to accomplish this kind of project. Will you become published wonder? Probably not, but words and photos have a way of living long after the writer and will assure your place in history and in the hearts of your readers as very little else could.