The Legacy of Memories

The Legacy of Memories

Some years ago, I inherited boxes of photographs that were the collection of my grandmother who died in the 1980’s. She seemed always to have a camera and was always taking photos. Many of the photos were of me, my brothers and sisters, my mom, and more. But, the vast majority of them—and I’m talking thousands of them—were of people I don’t know at all. Right now, they are in boxes in my closet, as I don’t know what to do with them. I expect they will go to the trash at some point.

There were home movies as well, and some of those were interesting to watch again having not seen them for over 40 years. With the volume of movies and photos, which can be turned into digital and shared more easily, the cost would be considerable. Some photos I’ve already turned into a digital format and have shared them in several different ways online and off.

As good as these are, what could be a better legacy? I think it would be writing, voice recording (all the movies are silent), or other lasting works. Historians love people who kept diaries, but I think this is a lost art, and yet we still have the power of the word, and even with less effort using today’s technology.

What about stories? Wouldn’t you just love to hear stories that someone left behind in audio recordings, video recordings, or writing? I know I would. I have my memories of my grandparents, my mother, and father, and I have a relatively small number of photos to help remember what we all looked like at a time, but I don’t think they are anywhere near as powerful as the personality and intellect in action via the spoken or written word.

Many years back, my late wife’s uncle began recording stories at my wife’s encouragement. He has hundreds more than he recorded, but those recordings are fascinating, and to hear him tell it himself is the best.

I have letters that I wrote and that my wife wrote to me, even those we exchanged right after we first met. They are treasures. They indicate our emotional state in time and our thinking in that place too. To be able to read them from time to time is a special treat. I’ve saved some writing when I was young, including poetry I’ve written, the first song I wrote, along with all those along the way until I stopped writing them and started writing other things. I don’t know what value they may hold for those who may entertain their contents in the future, but I know from my perspective that these are the things that move me that others have left behind.

I love biographies and have read hundreds of them of famous people and almost unknown people. It’s good to read about other people’s lives. But, what I really love are autobiographies. Sure, as one writes his or her own story, they soften some of the edges, but I don’t care. What I care about is that the one who lived the life wrote about the life, and that legacy is their truth as they lived it, and I get to be the beneficiary of all their living perspective.

Whatever your legacy, I hope it contains a whole lot of you.

Terry Minion is an owner/manager of, a website, online marketing company based in Fairfield CA. He also writes the CTS Daily Inspirations at