I love to hear or read ordinary people’s stories. When they began, where they went, where they hope to go, and most of the things in-between are the legacy only they can give.
Because this is one of my favorite topics, when a conversation turns this direction I get excited. Most of the time, it’s not long before whoever I’m with says, “I don’t know where to start.” I love it when that happens because ideas are also one of my favorite things.
Plus, it’s fun to watch eyebrows raise when I ask, “Why not start with the day you were born?”
Some people will slowly (as if there is a period after every word) explain, “I don’t remember the day I was born.”
Yeah I know. Me neither. So what? But you can ask the people who do know.
I asked my parents and it was interesting to learn what was going in their lives the day I arrived. On December 1st, my dad was admitted to the hospital with food poisoning. After visiting him, Mom went home to rest only to have to turn around and drive back to deliver her first baby on December 2nd after a long labor. The hospital was a big house on the lake and I was the only newborn in the nursery.
Also. . .I was born on my twin uncle’s 49th birthday.
If your parent’s are gone (or even if they’re not), resist quitting! Google your day and year.
Here are a few of the things going on Monday, December 2, 1957.
- The high temperature of the day was 11 degrees above zero and the low that night was 8 below zero.
- Senator John F. Kennedy was on the cover of Time magazine.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to the White House from his farm after recovering from what his doctors called a cerebral attack.
- The Winona, MN paper reported that income tax reductions hopes were dim.
- The New York Times bestselling book was BY LOVE POSSESSED, by James Gould Cozzens (to see the others click this link: http://www.hawes.com/1957/1957-12-01.pdf)
That year . . .
- Tang (powdered breakfast drink of the astronauts – or so we were told!) was brand new and cost 50 cents a jar.
- Campbell’s tomato soup cost 10 cents a can and hamburger was 30 cents a pound.
- Lipstick was sold in a tube for the first time (it is said that at that time 90% of American women wore lipstick).
- Helena Rubenstein designed a liquid mascara in a tube that used a wand.
- A Ford Thunderbird cost $3251 and a Chevrolet Bel-Air with lots of bells and whistles cost $2700.
- DNA structure was understood and explained to the scientific community.
- Orville Freeman was the DFL governor of MN.
- The top TV shows were Wagon Train, American Bandstand, Perry Mason, Bonanza, Dragnet, and The Perry Como Show.
- Dove soap was brand new.
- The top selling shampoos were White Rain, Lustrue’ Crème, Halo, and Breck.
- The top selling songs that week were:Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock, Pat Boone – April Love, The Everly Brothers – Wake Up Little Susie, Sam Cooke – You Send Me, Johnny Mathis – Chances Are
Just some of the famous people born the same year:
- Vanna White
- Caroline Kennedy
- Vince Gill
- Donny Osmond
- Osama Bin Laden
In every one of these lists is at least one memory worth sharing.
I drank Tang and learned to love it while my mom sang the chorus from The Witch Doctor, (popular in 1958) “Ooh eeh ooh aah aah ting tang wallawalla bingbang!” (And in spite of dementia, she could still sing it with me a few weeks before she died.) The music, the TV shows, and the famous people born the same year are all part of my story. I even know the words to 4 out of the top 5 songs that week. I remember the smell of Breck shampoo and wanted to be as beautiful as the Breck Girls. I watched Carolyn Kennedy at her daddy’s funeral while I sat on our couch beside mine, and remember my mom using mascara that wasn’t in a tube – they were still a little on the expensive side. She had a little red compact with gold letters spelling Maybelline. Inside was a brush and a cake of black stuff – she’d wet the brush, run it over the cake, and brush it on her lashes.
I gotta tell you – it startled me to realize that the man responsible for planning the 9/11 attacks that killed 2996 Americans was born the same year. We are both part of the legacy that is 1957.
It’s your turn. What happened on the day (week, month, and year) you were born?
Until Next Time,
Moms! Here’s an idea for you – write a note to your child/children telling them about your life the day he or she was born. This is a gift your child/children will enjoy when they’re older and is especially meaningful if you include a picture or two of them with you right after their birth.
Here’s an excerpt from my book, Your Life a Legacy – Explore & Record the Times of Your Life:
A Note from the Author. . .
I was sharing my idea for this book with a friend when she asked, “What is your goal in writingYour Life, a Legacy?” At first, I thought I knew the answer – after all, I’ve been a journal keeper for a long time and have taught this topic for more than fifteen years at conferences. Looking into her eyes, I gave her my easy response. “I want to help people preserve their personal histories.” The hollow words caused me to cringe.
It was a wide answer – the kind that reached across the surface and stayed there. My friend’s inquiry deserved a deep answer – the kind that flows from the abundance of the soul.
I resisted that truth and hurried into my new project, trying to swat at the unease in my mind as if it were nothing more than a bothersome bug. Ignoring the predictable words piling up on the pages, I also neglected the catch in my spirit that urged me to create a book full of ideas and inspiration and to expose my heart to you at the same time.
Then, my friend invited me and another writer to her cabin at the lake for four days. The three of us would eat delicious food, drink our favorite beverages, and write. We’d talk writing and most of all, we’d write. I said yes.
Before leaving home, I read the pages I’d completed. I found lists, facts, and stilted words. Instead of showing future Legacy Givers the tremendous value in their personal histories, I had focused on the process. Only a few lines went below the surface.
Encouraging people to write their life stories makes me want to sing and yet my writing had no rhythm or melody. I knew in order to write this book with integrity, I’d have to participate and reveal bits and pieces of my own Legacy. With that decision made, the miserable drizzle had to go. I left for the cabin determined to dive in.
After arriving, I stepped into the bathroom out of necessity. While washing my hands, I noticed a lovely arrangement on the counter. The words etched on the rock surprised me, and then settled into my soul as I surrendered to their truth.
Nothing can happen through you that hasn’t happened to you. –Allen Talley
As I write this, I’m sitting at the table in Julie’s cabin. The sun is shimmering on the lake and through the leaves as the wind causes both to dance. A mix of excitement and fear are present as I declare myself ready to embrace the challenges writing this book holds for me. It is in this safe place strengthened by the prayers of Julie, Barbara, my husband Jon, and my mom, that I will write below the veneer.
Here’s the real answer to Julie’s question: I want to show you that your personal history is full of purpose, power, and promise. When shared your stories hold the power to affect the people in your home, community, and the world. Every life that is explored, recorded, and shared becomes a Legacy to this generation and to those who will follow.
Your Life a Legacy is available at Amazon.