For the past year, I served as the Program Chair for the 2011 Association of Personal Historians Conference. As it ended on Oct 20, I imagine myself as an air-depleted party balloon. Indeed the conference was over, the accumulation of efforts from many members and guest speakers who all are personal history enthusiasts. My special appreciation and acknowledgement of my "best friend forever" Paula Yost (with me in this photo), the APH Event Manager who expertly oversees conference details-who makes the event appear so seamless.
As I passed the Talking Stick to Mary Harrison, the 2012 Program Chair, I was proud. I am also excited to be looking forward to St. Louis, a tremendous venue for the next conference. Next October's conference will be a chance to learn, share and get energized through a network of APH members, plus an opportunity to visit the beautiful Mississippi River city that I so enjoy. As Thanksgiving approaches, I add the experience of the past year to my gratitude list. It is heartening to belong to a group of individuals and businesses devoted to giving memories a future. 2012 APH Conference info: http://www.personalhistorians.org/conference/c2012/index.php
I love my work! Great joy comes from encouraging others to capture their personal stories so that they may be shared. Equal joy occurs when I am invited to talk about the rewards that come from saving memories.
Recently, the State of Nevada show (KNPR, Las Vegas NPR affiliate) invited me and two people who I have assisted with their family and personal storytelling. One is a member of a life writing class I lead and the other is a son who created a book of photos and narrative to celebrate his mother's 80th birthday. Also on the show was Nikki Silva, one of the Kitchen Sisters from NPR fame. This was all a precursor to the 2011 Association of Personal Historians Conference to be held in Las Vegas (Oct 16-20).
The program also included Karen Anderson who joined my first life writing class and Dr. Michael Thompson, who I assisted in creating a book to celebrate his mother's 80th birthday a few years ago. Also on the program was Nikki Silva, one of the Kitchen Sisters of NPR fame, who also was one of the gifted keynote speakers at the conference.
How to earn a PhD—as in personal history doctorate
Monday, 25 April 2011 19:50
Sixteen years ago Kitty Axelson-Berry, a journalist writing her mother's story, formed the Association of Personal Historians. Through her experience Kitty learned that other share her passion giving voice to personal stories. Soon her relationship with a handful of similarly impassioned individuals created APH, which now boasts a membership of over 600 worldwide.
My relationship with APH began while researching the various ways people capture and preserve family stories for the book LifeCatching. My curiosity was sparked by my work with a marketing and public relations firm that specialized in the funeral industry. We were on the forefront of promoting the life celebration approach to memorials and the work made me keenly aware of how quickly personal histories evaporate. Funeral officiants described how the harsh reality of death often left loved ones struggling to recall the individual's history, to fill in the gaps of often told stories or family history. I yearned to impact that loss of memories.
So I joined APH. I dub it my road to a PhD-as in personal history doctorate. Final certification has come from my clients-the individuals, organizations and communities that I have had the honor of assisting in organizing and sharing their histories. My LifeCatching business continues to evolve in a direction that uses my strengths. For if I have a weakness, I know that I have a legion of APH-ers to call upon.
I attended my first APH Conference in 2006 in Portland OR. Wonderful relationships followed. This year's dates are October 16 - 20, Harrah's Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV. I'm conference chair and looking for a large turnout. I'll be blogging periodically about developments.
His remarks go to the core of what personal and oral historians do. We encourage ordinary folks to value their stories. Now is a perfect time to start a story capturing tradition. The Easter and Passover seasons are underway. Families and friends are gathering together. Keep the TV off and listen to the voices around you.
I've never been to a Passover Seder where a TV was blaring in the background or an Easter egg hunt when the kids would rather watch the TV. So, turn this into a life-catching opportunity. Record the festivities.
While mom in the kitchen cooking the traditional meal ask her to tell you why she serves what she does. Record the kids searching for Easter eggs and their joyful reactions to their loot. Ask Grandpa to talk about how springtime makes him feel. Guarantee it will be a rewarding activity that you'll want to repeat.