In 1997, when my grandmother's health started to decline, she said she wanted to tell me her history. We sat on her couch and she told me about her life—about her childhood in Europe, about coming to this country through Ellis Island, and about her hopes for the family. I edited the story, added photos and a family tree, and bound it into a book.
She loved "her book" and kept it by her bedside, showing it to everyone who came to visit her. At her funeral, I read a portion in which she spoke to the family about the importance of helping each other. It felt like she was right there talking to us, and it had a powerful effect on the people that were gathered there. After that, I began writing personal histories for other families, combining my love of writing, editing, and most of all, people's stories.