Monday, June 13, 2011

Keep the Story Going

Journey of the Journal
photo by Carol Newman

Last week I had an e-mail from Pam K who took my Life Story Writing class several years ago. She wrote: I am researching my family history before a trip to Montana to find my grandparents homestead from 1910-1924. I have my grandmother's daily journal from 1910. . . . It is a 5/12" X 41/2" leather bound handwritten journal.

She asked for ideas on how to safely copy the journal. The key word here is safely.

And as many of you probably have journals, letters, family Bibles, photo albums, or other items you would like to copy, I wanted to share my discussion with Pam with you.

Depending on the item, ordinary photocopying might be fine. However, scanning makes it possible to save the copy on your computer or some other device or CD. Still, both photocopying and ordinary scanning require the item be opened and pressed flat. A book or album can be damaged by this. Another option would be to simply use a digital camera and tripod and photograph the pages or items. Again, they can be saved to your computer or CD.

Then I suggested Pam contact the following two resources:
The Midwest Genealogy Center (MGC) is one of the nation's preeminent resources for family history. The Genealogy Center features 52,000 square feet of space to house all the resources and technology genealogists need to research. 3440 S. Lee's Summit Road, Independence, MO 64055-1923. Phone: 816-252-7228. Hours: Mon–Thurs 9–9; Fri 9–6; Sat 9–5; Sun 1–5. National Archives. Any historical information created or received by the Federal Government. A regional branch of the National Archives is located in Kansas City, Mo., just west of Union Station.

(Additional resources can be found at and in the back of the Second Edition of the Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook.)

On her own, Pam also contacted the University of Missouri, Kansas City's "special collections." That department suggested a company in Lawrence, Kansas, called Scanning America. This company can scan from above without putting pressure on the spine of the journal. It is thirty-five cents a page for a clear digital copy put in a .pdf file which can then be enlarged and/or copied.

I asked Pam if she would let me know what she does so I can share the information with you.

Wouldn't you love to read a journal from 1910? A record of life at the time. Even the most mundane of daily events would be interesting.

You see what I'm working up to with this don't you? One hundred one years from now, your writing could influence a young descendant. Do it now. Start writing. Keep writing.


The week in review . . . Write a summary of your life in the past week. Make it a story. Mention the weather, world events, political context, popular culture, family, health. You might write about being in the doctor's waiting room to get the staples removed from your head where it was cut in the fall you took last week on an outing with your daughter to Whole Foods where you bought organic grapes. Maybe the woman next to you in the waiting room engaged you in conversation about the latest politician who was caught sending explicit photos of himself.


Chocolate for Today
photo by Carol Newman

 This is the easiest and best chocolate "recipe" yet. Young Advisor clued me in. Actually, you don't even have to make anything -- except a trip to Target where you can find these in the freezer section. I admit the name put me off -- VitaTops. I was sure it must have that funky vitaminy taste. Far from it. Gently warm in the microwave and enjoy the dense, moist chocolate muffin and melty chocolate chips. All for only 100 calories, plus you get 9 grams of fiber. They are great alone or topped with a bit of fat-free frozen yogurt. Now, if the company would just change the name.

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