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Blog: Jiggs, Life stories & the importance of passing them on : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog: Jiggs, Life stories & the importance of passing them on

I am a big proponent of sharing our life-stories with the next generation. Three of my books are geared to all or parts of my life story. I have conducted talks on helping others share their stories. This can be done with journaling on paper or online or sharing through audio/visual means. It can be informal by simply recording conversations about the past. My dad shared parts of his military experiences as a medic directly behind the front lines in Italy and North Africa with me as we sat and talked together. But, he never wrote them down and then he was gone. At least he shared so I could record what I recalled of those stories.

Years ago, Keith and his siblings realized they didn’t know as much as they’d liked about their parents. With that in mind, the siblings wrote down questions and, in two separate video sessions, recorded history. This year two of Keith’s brothers took on another task. Keith’s dad wrote a lot of letters home when he was in service during WWII. Tim and Mark transcribed the letters, added historical information and pictures and some clarification from Lavern (Jiggs), and had books printed out for each of the siblings. With Mark’s wife Jennifer’s assistance, they also gave out a  flash drive to all family members–kids, grandkids, etc. that added much more historical detail of the lives of their parents.

Thanks to those who took the time, the next generations won’t lose Lavern’s story. He was a boy from mid-Nebraska who signed up for the war at 17. He got sent from one base to another in the US as he waited orders for overseas. He trained as an airplane tail gunner in a B17. Eventually, he received orders and headed overseas to England and Wales. With this activation came a promotion from Corporal to Buck Sergeant.

He couldn’t include much of what he was doing in letters to his parents, but he did have ways of letting them know. Telling them he’d had “fresh eggs for breakfast” was a signal he been on a bombing run that day. When the war ended, he returned home, married and took up farming, though he’s always had other enterprises along the way.

His story is captivating as told in his letters home. But the family might never have known Dad’s story without the efforts of Keith’s brothers. Our stories shape our lives, our outlook, and our faith. I am thankful the Scheidies’ family values our past and our shared history as we make history every time we get together.

History is made up of the life stories and memories of those who lived it. When we don’t pass on our life stories, our families are left with holes. We lose the reason for traditions. Passing on life stories is critical to giving the next generations context, continuity, foundations and a sense of being, of knowing who they are and where they came from.

This is why adopted children often start looking for their biological roots. This is true even if they love their adoptive parents and had good memories of their growing up years.

Capture the stories of your parents and grandparents while you can. You might be surprised by what you discover. Next, add your life story for the generations to follow. Sharing a little a day will turn into something special down the way. Family history matters. Don’t put off recording yours.

By Carolyn R Scheidies
Published in Kearney Hub 7/1/18 as Share life stories with loved ones

Read more about Scheidies’ life in her autobio: The Day Secretariat Won The Triple Crown


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