Personal historians remind us to gather our stories

Personal historians know holidays are the perfect time to gather family stories and honor personal legacies. Ask Trena Cleland or Gloria Nussbaum about the importance of preserving personal history.

Both Trena and Gloria are members of Personal Historians NW and contributors to the December issue(s) of Northwest50Plus magazine, highlighting the different types of work being done to help families (and businesses) preserve their stories and legacies.

Trena’s article, Ask Yourself, appears on page 14 of the South Valley/Lane edition of Northwest50Plus . In it, this Eugene-area personal historian provides memory prompts on topics such as childhood games, holiday traditions, and family heirlooms to get the gears of your memory in motion.

Trena Cleland with a memoir she produced

Trena knows how to unearth the gems, having carved her niche as a personal historian starting in 1998. She’s an expert interviewer and has assembled a top-notch team of writers, editors, and book designers whose work honors the stories and wisdom being passed along, decade by decade. She describes a personal history as “a way of keeping your experiences and hard-won wisdom alive. It is an invaluable investment whose benefits will be reaped for generations.”

Learn about the treasures Trena and her team create and get a list of prompts to engage your family in story-telling this holiday season by contacting Trena via her website.

In the Portland Metro/Vancouver edition, the article Listen to My Story features member Gloria Nussbaum. Usually the person behind the microphone interviewing and gathering stories, Gloria was right at home with her interviewer talking about her personal history business.

Gloria Nussbaum of Real to Reel

As the owner of Real to Reel, Gloria has been listening to and recording stories since 2001. She’s preserved the oral histories of hundreds of individuals and families through her work.

“Almost nobody does what I do,” Nussbaum says. “I became known as ‘the audio person,’ because it was my passion to just get the stories and the voice. Each person has a voice as unique as a fingerprint. “And it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the sound of your voice,” she says. “This is the voice that your loved ones know and love. When they hear that voice, you’re right there in the room with them. With audio, you get their laughter, the way they speak, a turn of a phrase, even the way they breathe.” Source: Northwest50Plus magazine.

Perhaps many of us can relate to Gloria’s story about her own family’s legacy and the importance of preserving those stories in a story-teller’s own voice. “A regret is that I didn’t discover this in time to record my dad’s stories.  Thanks to his siblings, I have stories about him but that is very different from having his stories…and his voice.”

Since 2006, Gloria has been a member of Personal Historians NW. Learn more about Gloria Nussbaum and her company Real to Reel by reading the entire article in the December 2019 issue, Portland Metro Edition of the Northwest50Plus magazine.

We invite you to share your stories, your history and your legacy this holiday season. Whether it is art, memoir, a visual journey, books or oral history, you are sure to find a personal historian who can help honor your wishes. Reach out to a personal historian to explore an array of legacy options for commemorating a family, business chronology or your own personal history.