While compiling a personal history, we find that some memories come to the forefront of our minds spontaneously, randomly and frequently as we go about our daily lives. Others must be coaxed and cajoled out of the recesses of our psyche with the help of a variety of tools.
Two such useful devices exist at opposite ends of the technology spectrum.
Last week I wrote about how thinking back on the places and people in our lives can help us remember our past. Picturing the details of these memories often helps us recall more than we had previously about a particular time in our lives, enabling us to document our personal histories completely.
When we hit a “dry spell” in our memory searching, however, or to spark remembrances of certain times past, we can look to one very familiar resource – the daily newspaper. Scrolling through archives of your local paper (the more local, the better) provides us with the stories of our day and an amazing number of details as well.
Even if we weren’t the subject of the newspaper story, it affected our life – sometimes in a significant way. Looking back on such events, with the advantage of the passage of time, helps us to realize just how much they may have shaped our future.
To view newspaper archives from your home town, contact the local library. Some are available online, but often, access is limited to archived microfilm, which can often be checked out.
The more recent popularity of social media can provide a second method to jar loose happenings lost along our personal timeline. Facebook groups, such as “Growing Up In Orlando Before Disney” allow those who join to share remembrances of a place and time with others. One story often sparks another and the layers of detail from those who add to the posts can be quite interesting and informative.
Try searching Facebook for a group from your home town.
Just because we can’t remember everything from our childhood, doesn’t mean those memories are lost. Tools exist to help us get the stories back – and get them right.