Humanity’s legacy of stories and storytelling is the most precious we have. All wisdom is in our stories and songs.Doris Lessing
My great-uncle, Harry Radcliffe, is, to borrow the words of Winston Churchill, a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. All I know of him is what I can glean from this photo postcard he addressed to his niece, my mother, in 1932.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I would much rather have his words—and more than a thousand. Why did he join the navy? What did he learn from his travels? If he could speak, what would he say about what mattered to him? If only he had written a legacy letter to his niece …
Memoirs and legacy letters (also called ethical wills) can be written at any point in our lives to share our stories and values with those we hold dear. Each of us has had moments of “glad grace,” moments of inspiration, courage, tenderness, and each of us is wise in our very own way. What could be better than sharing our stories and wisdom with the people we cherish? … Just imagine what it would be like to have a permanent record of your mother’s dreams for you as she awaited your birth—or words of inspiration set down by a grandfather who triumphed over disaster. As a writer, editor, and writing teacher, I can help you and your loved ones tell your stories and share your values.
Memoirs and legacy letters celebrate the past and the present. Let’s make them a gift we give the future.