Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Anniversary

It doesn’t seem like it was just yesterday.  It wasn’t. Doesn’t seem like it was a long time ago either.  It was.  But I don’t really think of it in terms of how long ago, or how long it’s been going on.  Maybe it’s because I’m a man.  It just is.  And it’s good.
One day last week was mywedding anniversary.  Twenty six years which I think qualifies as a long time.  Some good.  Some better.  Some not.  But lasting.  Twenty six years.  I don’t expect it to be perfect.  You can’t measure good without bad to compare the two.
A lot has happened.  Joy and sorrow.  Success and failure.  New people and places.  Change.  But always together.  Good and not so much so.  Somehow.
Funny how we celebrate that one day.  It really represents a lifetime of days.  Or at least a lot more than just one day.  At this point, more than half of my days.  We used to celebrate big every year.  Slowly that faded to a more subdued event.  Now it’s mainly just a card and dinner.  We don’t hash over the history.  We just know that we are.  And always it involves Italy.  That’s where we spent the first two years of our marriage, and our twentieth anniversary.  An awesome beginning that holds us together.
That’s part of my personal history.  What’s yours?  Write it down!  The future will appreciate it.  www.personalhistorywriter.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Inspired

Back in 1968 I was greatly inspired by the winter Olympics.  That year they were held in France and not too surprisingly one of the big stars was a frenchman.  Dude named Jean Claude.  Won a couple of gold medals in skiing.  He inspired me and I took up skiing.

Black diamonds mark the expert slopes on the ski mountains and after two or three hops down the bunny trail, I decided the black diamonds were more my speed.  I survived.  For the next six or seven years, from first snowfall to Spring melt, you could find me almost every day on some hill, joyously flying on my skis.  As I got better, so did my skis.  Never did get that pair of Lange boots I dreamed of though, or Head 360 skis.  I did have some fancy Saloman bindings though. All of these would be antiques now I’m sure.  But back then…

Apple Hill was the ski area of choice.  Largely because it was only a mile or two from my school.  It was a small place and sometimes I called it Apple Bump.  But I learned a lot about skiing, and other things, there.  Had one heck of a lot of fun.  Broke a pair of skiis doing jumps.  Competed in a race or two.  I got to be good enough to do more than survive the black diamonds.  And skied some places bigger than a bump.  Keystone.  Aspen.  Places like that. But when I went to college my skiing days pretty much ended.  No time.  Or money.  It’s been a long time since I last schussed.  But man was I inspired!

Lots of people will be athletically inspired by the Olympics.  Great careers will be launched by little kids watching the great athletes.  Hobbies will be begun by those thinking it would be fun to try rowing or cycling or something.  And thousands will be inspired to get off the couch and do something.  Anything.  At least for a little while until the Olympic memory fades, and day to day realities once again take over.

But we were inspired.  And we did something.  And so it is part of our personal history.  Skiiing played a big part in my personal history.  What inspires you?  What has become part of your personal history?  Write it down for the future.  So others will know.  www.personalhistorywriter.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Yard Sale

A yard sale seems like a pretty simple affair.  Put all of your unwanted junk in the yard, or garage for those who are a little more refined, let people know about the event and match new owners with what have suddenly become treasures.  All the while making a few bucks.

But there is a lot of work that goes into this whole process.  The main thing is being able to let go of your junk.  And to realize that no matter how much you may have once liked it, the new owner isn’t going to pay anywhere near as much for it as you did.  That thirty-five dollar shirt is now worth two bucks.  Maybe.

My big fear when doing one of these things has always been running out of change.  You need to start out with a lot of one dollar bills and quarters.  To make change for the fifty cent shirts.  And you need plastic bags for your customers to put all their new stuff in.  Of course you have to price all this stuff, and be prepared to change the price in midstream.  Nobody pays the sticker price.  Even something marked for twenty-five cents has room for negotiation.  Funny how that piece of junk you are desperate to get rid of takes on much greater value when someone is trying to get it from you for a song. Make sure it’s all nicely displayed so people can see it.  And be awake at the crack of dawn for early birds, even when your advertisement specifies no early birds.

Sellers are usually people who do this once in a while to clean out their closets, garage or basement.  Buyers on the other hand are often professional yard sale goers.  They come in knowing exactly what they want, look around, buy it if you have it, and get out to go to the next garage or yard.  This is their business.  Buy and sell.  Enterprising entrepreneurs.  I’m not there yet.  I go and look and think about what might sell or resell, and what won’t.  I mostly look, and buy a few things that I like that will fill up my house until I clean it out again.

What I like best is seeing all the people who come out.  Whether you are a buyer or seller, first timer or pro, in it for fun or profit, the yardsale is part of your personal history.  Small part.  Large part.  Make some notes about how much fun it was.  Perhaps you too will become a pro.  www.personalhistorywriter.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Great Sports Legacies

The Olympic Games.  Now there is an event worthy of the history books.  Those going to the games as participants must have a multitude of feelings right about now.  Some will win medals, others won’t.  But all will be in a select group of athletes.  Olympians.  What stories they will have to tell!
 
Kind of reminds me of my own athletic prowess.  No, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of any elite class of athlete.  I ran three marathons, but not at any remarkable pace.  And I don’t do that anymore.  I still go to the gym several days a week, but the days of competition are over.  It’s quite an experience though.  Unless you’ve been there, you can’t understand.  And I’m not sure that all athletes understand each other.  However, all athletes have a story to tell, regaling any listener about how, “I remember the time…” 
 
My closet has several log books in it, sitting on a shelf, that detail the run or training routine I completed on a particular day.  Just short notes.  I wish I had kept a record in greater detail.  My children see the marathon medals every day, hanging in their spot of honor around the neck of Amanda Fenwick.  She is a replica of a sailing ship’s carved wooden figurehead, and looks very good with all that bling.  Both kids were there at the finish line of the first marathon I ran, and the photo of the three of us at the finish line is one of my favorites.  They don’t know the whole story though.
 
Most of us have done a stint as an athlete.  Somewhere along the line we all participated in organized sports.  Some to a greater extent than others.  Maybe it was just gym class in elementary school.  Or maybe a college team.  We are just not all suited to be jocks, either by skill level or temperment.  I forced myself in both regards.  Nowadays everybody gets a trophy for participating.  And a bigger one for winning.  But wouldn’t you like to remember the details?  Shouldn’t your descendants know about your journey?  Write it down.  Have someone else write it down.  But save it for the future.  Your input on uniforms, rules, equipment or some other aspecrt of your sport might someday be the missing piece of the puzzle for which historians are searching.  You never know.
 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Man’s Best Friend

With teeth like a rabid wolf, my dog is none the less afraid of thunderstorms.  The other night I had to get down on the floor to sleep next to her.  She didn’t sleep, and neither did I.  She pants like crazy as soon as she senses any thunder in the area.  I’m not sure why exactly, but I think it has to do with her puppy hood.  

We got her when she was ten weeks old as a rescue.  Apparently she had been living in a dumpster at a mobile home park.  That would scare me, not to mention some thunderstorm.  Only she knows what that was like, and she isn’t saying, but it’s all part of her personal history.  Yes, dogs have interesting lives too.  Maybe you could capture the life of your dog as a memoir.  Or your cat.  Or bird.  Whatever kind of pet you have, aren’t they part of your family?

This dog is a big part of my personal history too.  And that of my family.  She is the fourth dog I have had as a pet, but she is my favorite.  I feel the closest to her.  Perhaps I don’t really remember the first one too well as I was a child back then.  The second dog was really my brother’s dog.  The third one was mean.  This one and I got the power paradigm straight real early.  I nearly killed myself demonstrating that I was “the big dog.”  But we understand each other now.  And she follows me everywhere.

The thunderstorm reminded me of her first night with us.  She was in her crate.  Downstairs.  Alone.  And she was whimpering.  I went down and lay down next ot the crate and slept there all night with her.  She made it through the night.

Pets are part of our family, and our family history.  there is no telling how that story might have been different without her.  Capture their story too.  www.personalhistorywriter.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Big and Small

Not feeling terribly important today?  Take another look!  What makes people important?  Life is short, but the world goes on and on and on so, in the end it’s the legacy they leave behind.  And the contributions they have made to the world.  Does that mean that the one with the most toys wins?  That those who contribute the most are of the greatest importance?  No.   What it means is that everyone benefits, including future generations, when we all try.
Maybe you are not the president of the company you work for, or of the country you live in.  You say you were in the military, but not as an admiral.  You own a mom and pop type business, but not Exxon/Mobil.  You live with a roof over your head, but not one covered with gold.  You belong to a club, but not the most prestigious (that is, perhaps, most expensive) one.  You go to the movies, but you’re not a movie star.  You sing in the shower, but you’re not a rock star either.  Not famous.  Not super rich.  Still, you are very valuable.
When you work, regardless of the job you have, you provide a vital piece of the puzzle without which the picture would not be complete.  You may or may not feel fulfilled or appreciated, but you are doing something, including, I hope, keeping an eye out for the next opportunity.  Admirals and generals may make the plans, but no plan, regardless of how good it is, succeeds without the full effort of all of the participants, including the raw boot camp graduate.  From acorns do mighty oaks grow, and the mom and pop business is what builds business in any industry and in any location.  Does size really matter?  I guess it depends on who you ask.  But think, if you have a home that holds you and most of your stuff, and it keeps you warm and dry, do you really need more?  What are really going to do with two swimming pools, nineteen bedrooms, twenty seven bathrooms and a nine car garage?  You’ll just get lost, and have a huge heating and air conditioning bill.  If you enjoy your club, and fellow club mates, why go elsewhere?  You might not fit so well.  And if you ask any movie star or rock star, even someone who is just famous for being famous, there is a downside to all that.  You might have to dig through a pile of money to find it, but there is a down side.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to say that everyone should be satisfied with their situation.  Or that we should mindlessly accept everything that comes our way.  Not at all.  If you want more, strive for it!  What I am saying is that each life has value.  Look at it this way, if you find the right pond, you’ll be the biggest fish.  What is important though is that you were here, and you made a contribution.  And there will always be people who are interested in what that contribution was.  Ever heard of geneology?  People have an innate curiosity about where they came from, and who they followed.  And what those people did.  It gives us a sense of belonging, and a sense of place.
Regardless of who you are or what you do, you should record your story for future generations.  Historians will love you.  But more importantly, your descendants will appreciate knowing what fine stock they come from.  Share your personal history with the present, and the future!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized