I've written a great deal both here and in "Write your Life!" about the importance of life stories, both the stories we write about our own lives and those we write about our loved ones. In an article in the September 4 Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen O'Donnell wrote a story entitled "My father's stories inspired me to write" that reinforced my belief that we need to listen to our parents and grandparents' stories before it's too late, and either help them to record and/or write down those stories or write them down ourselves. Such stories are too valuable to lose!
The article begins, "My father, whose storytelling made me want to be a writer, listens to stories these days because he can do longer tell them. He is very sick." Her father was born in Ireland in 1921, and his stories of life in "the old country" were a form of time travel for reporter O'Donnell. She mentions a few of his fascinating experiences: Irish country life involving bringing in the cows, making hay, and selling turf; World War II in London; school life; seeing American cowboy movies.
I hope that Ms. O'Donnell has written or will write more about her father. "With his sharp, probing mind, given the same access to education that I had, Dad could have become a professor of history. Instead, he gave his love of knowledge to his four children, and, by extension, his eight grandchildren."
Read Ms. O'Donnell's article, and think about your own relatives. Don't let their fascinating life stories be lost.