Preserve Your Family History

Today, like any other day, I walked out to my mailbox, and I found an envelope from my elderly father.  I can’t remember receiving much mail from Dad in the past.  It has always been Mom who sent me things.  But it was Dad’s handwriting; I have been worried because he hasn’t been well.  I opened the letter, not knowing quite what to expect.  Much to my surprise, I found the following letter along with a handful of photographs that had been enlarged:

Dear Julie,

I am enclosing several enlargements of old slides I found in the back of the garage.  I thought you and the others that are in the photos should have them — sorry, in some of them you weren’t even born yet.  It is important for you to have these because they show both sides of your family — these are the people you come from.  You should preserve these and show them to your children and grandchildren as your mother and I are doing now.

Love to all, Dad

Dad’s letter made me realize two things. 

First, our older parents do think about these things and do worry that once they are gone, all family lineage will die with them.  In my estate business, I see this all too often.  On the flip side, I see families that preserve almost too much and it becomes information overload for the kids.  Is there a happy medium?  I think there can be.

Second, as a boomer myself, I feel that many of us in our 40s, 50s, and 60s neglect to ask about our heritage until our loved ones are either infirm or they pass away.  I have seen so many of my boomer clients say they “wish they could talk to mom and ask who is this person in the photo.”

So what can be done?  I’ll give you some specific ideas next week!

© 2010 Julie Hall

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