Everyone has a story to tell.

I was born on December 29, 1929, in Calumet, Pennsylvania.  I always liked the way those numbers rolled off the tongue: 12/29/29.  It was an easy date to remember in days that were most uneasy.  The stock market had just crashed in October of 1929, and by the time I was born just 2 months later, the country had officially been thrust into the Great Depression.  Economic instability became the new normal.  Financial ruin loomed around every corner.  And while the dreadful economy impacted everyone’s standard of living, the psychological toll that it necessarily imposed tore families apart and plunged people into untold despair.

Excerpt from a biography of an 89-year-old woman. Her children gifted her a biography for her upcoming 90th birthday.

We also had the good fortune of growing up with our mother’s oldest brother (our favorite uncle) who also lived with us at 311 Ashland. Uncle Dan retired as a police sergeant for the Pennsylvania Railroad, so he was no stranger to keeping law and order until it came to his personal life.  He and his wife, Rose, actually had a home together in the neighboring town of Latrobe but, to put it politely, they didn’t always see eye to eye.  So in light of Rose’s “firm-mindedness” (which earned her the nickname “The Battle Ax”), it was completely understandable that Uncle Dan saw the wisdom, and the safety, in living elsewhere.

Excerpt from a biography of an 84-year-old man. He had been wanting to have his biography written for quite a while. He passed away shortly after its printing.        

It was because of my sister Barbara and her husband Jack that I was able to set a record when I was at Parris Island for my basic training for the Marines. I arrived at Parris Island on a Sunday and, as per their protocol, the new recruits were ushered into a holding area to begin our prepping. No sooner than I entered the holding area, a sergeant came over to me and told me I had visitors. When I went outside to see what was going on, it was Barbara and Jack waiting to see me! They were on their way home from a trip to Florida and they knew I was going to be at Parris Island so they made a stop to see me. We could only visit for about 30 minutes, but seeing them allowed me to set that record of the earliest visit to a new recruit in U.S. Marine history!

Excerpt from an 84-year-old veteran's biography.     

It was with this unique legacy of common sense combined with a “chase your dreams” attitude that I was preparing to enter Columbia University in the fall of 1981. On the one hand, I knew with hard work and dedication I could accomplish any traditional role I set my mind to.  On the other hand, I saw the opportunity and the room to explore and forge my own path.  And while I initially set out to major in government studies with my eye ultimately on attending law school, little did I know that I’d soon be scrapping that safely plotted course to rely on my own judgment, follow my own dreams, and test my own wings.

Excerpt from a 42-year-old woman who wanted to write a memoir of losing her husband at the age of 38.  She wanted her story to motivate and inspire others that any challenge can be overcome through faith.