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A fellow historian recently attended an aging conference in Switzerland, where she learned that, in Germany alone, there are over 10,000 residents over the age of 100.  One of them was quoted as saying, “I stopped worrying about my children when they entered rest homes.”

Who is your oldest relative?  What is his or her earliest memory that you find really interesting?

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“We are such spendthrifts with our lives,”  Mr. Newman once told a reporter.  “The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster.  I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”

Paul Newman

Paul Newman

Thank you, Paul, for sharing your time on the planet with us, and setting a high bar for others to aspire.

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Some of my fellow historians were caught in the path of Hurricane Ike and are struggling with the lack of electricity, food and water.  How would you handle such a crisis?

One woman’s 89-year-old father is a veteran of WWII. His experiences during the war include his submarine’s reconnaissance of Iwo Jima prior to the invasion. He lives in Baytown (east of Houston) and his house was severely damaged in the hurricane. The eye of the storm traveled through his neighborhood, toppling seven huge trees in his yard, including one (30 inches in diameter) which tore through his home office and the bathroom next to it. Fortunately, he had evacuated to his son’s home in Austin so he wasn’t hurt, but it’s going to require a major effort to repair his house.

He had been scheduled to be a panelist for a WWII symposium at the National Museum of the Pacific War (Nimitz Museum) to speak about his war time experiences. Although he could have easily backed out, he was determined to fulfill his commitment. So, just a few days after the trauma of losing part of his house — including many of the papers he’d been working on for the presentation — he attended the symposium and spoke to the attendees.

The human spirit is capable of strength, clarity and wisdom. Each person has this spirit within him or her, regardless of the situation.

In your family, who has set such an example?

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“Who are those people and why do we have photographs of them?” Read the rest of this entry »

 

Grammie's drawing

Grammie

   

 

My grandmother drew this in 1928 – her senior year of high school.

 

Simply put, a will of inheritance leaves valuables; an ethical will leaves values.

 

This non-legal document is basically a letter to loved ones; an opportunity to articulate thoughts and feelings that you may not be able to say face-to-face.  It could convey your good wishes, how much they have meant to you, ask for forgiveness, provide forgiveness, etc. 

 

This letter will take but a short bit of your time, but to the recepient, the gift will last a lifetime.

 

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