Breathing life into memories
There are so many interesting stories out there. Talk to almost anyone and you’ll find out something unique. Maybe it’s how their family started a business in Calgary. How their father began with an idea and 20 bucks in his pocket. How that idea grew and grew and now, 50 years later, the father has built an empire.
Maybe you’re talking to the owner of a company that’s celebrating 10 years. She’ll tell you how she’s worked many hours to get her business off the ground. All the hard work has paid off and she now has a treasure trove of experiences and memories. But without sharing or recording these stories they’re lost forever.
Legacy writing breathes life into memories and gives them a voice and a place in history. It connects our past to our future and celebrates our success and achievements. It’s why I got into legacy writing.
“That’s a great idea!” people say to me when they find out I’ve started a legacy writing business.
“How did you get into it?” is the follow-up.
I’ve always been interested in hearing peoples’ stories. Ever since I was young I wanted to hear about how my mother and father met or what my grandparents did when they were little. It was fascinating to think of my grandmother as a young girl sitting on a train in Scotland on her way to Canada. Out the window she could see the family farm as the train passed by – and glimpsed her favourite dog sitting in the driveway.
I could never imagine what she must have felt seeing her pet and home for the last time as she was on her way to a new country. Her family settled in Saskatchewan and my grandmother went on to marry the son of the local doctor. There are tons of stories about him like the one where he propped up his vehicle outside a house window so he’d have enough light to operate on a patient inside the home.
Several years ago I began collecting my relatives’ memories. This was before I even thought of a legacy writing business. I wanted to capture their thoughts and life lessons before it was too late and my background as a journalist came in handy.
Perhaps because my last name is Storry – I was destined to be a writer. As a child I was always teased to “tell a story, Storry” or simply just called “Storybook”. As a reporter people loved to comment on how my surname was perfect for the job.
Being a professionally trained journalist has given me the opportunity to live around the world and across Canada. I’ve worked in The Gambia, South Korea, New Brunswick, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories.
I also put my background in history and political science to good use when writing. This is especially helpful when composing corporate histories and understanding the impact of past events on companies. The recent recession for example.
The economic downturn hit a lot of people hard – myself included. For four years I’ve struggled to find work in my field and finally I had enough. It was time to start my own business doing something positive and worthwhile for the members of my community.
Legacy writing is something where I can put my abilities to work. I have excellent interviewing skills and am a good writer. Most important of all though, I’m interested in what people have to share with me.
One day I was on a bus in B.C. travelling from Kelowna to Revelstoke, where I lived at the time. The bus made a stop in Salmon Arm and all the passengers got off and crowded into the small depot. I sat down beside an elderly woman and we began to talk.
The woman told me she had been visiting her son in Vancouver and was now on her way back home to Calgary. She was quick to point out she wasn’t from Calgary but raised in a small town in Saskatchewan. The same small town my grandmother and her family settled. In fact, the senior beside me had met my doctor great-grandfather and told me the things she remembered about him. I made sure to write down what she had described to me.
We think we’ll always remember the stories we’re told or our company’s roots. We tell ourselves “Oh, I’ll write it down someday.” But most of us never do. This is where Family Lines comes in – by doing the writing for you.
Just give us the words – story writing is what we love to do.