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"It brings back old times and places." - Judith Gomperts, Fairfax, VA
"I just love it...the stories, the laughs, the memories." - Irv Trachtenberg, Portland, Oregon
"I'm getting such a kick out of your stories and they bring back so many memories of my youth...I sent two audio tapes to my son about the struggles of making a wilderness home in this area." - Lorena Wellington, Beatty, Oregon
Jack Kamen turned 84 on August 9, 1997. All the family members came to celebrate. Why? They were glad he made it. No one expected him to have another birthday.
Jack's health had deteriorated rapidly in the previous six months. If his kidney function continued to decline, he would need dialysis to remain alive. He had decided not to allow dialysis.
His son, Rick, was working on a book about "natural behaviors." These are actions that all living things do which help the species more than the individual. They include things like sex, heroism, caring for young...and storytelling by elders.
Why do we do these things? The tangible benefits go to others, but doing them makes us feel good. That promotes happiness and health in us, so our benefit comes indirectly.
Rick decided to stop writing his book and experiment on his father. "He's not doing any natural behaviors," Rick thought. "Will his health improve if I give him an opportunity to tell stories, the natural behavior that elders traditionally do?"
Rick telephoned his father and asked what life was like when he was young. Immediately, Jack's voice sounded ten years younger. After a few minutes of stories, Rick said "Let's write these up for the grandkids." That was the end of Jack's health decline.
Rick and Jack talked several times a week, writing and polishing stories. A year later, they had enough for a book. Rick edited them into Heirloom Stories from the Harnessmaker's Son.
Jack has had three more birthdays. He has more energy and his blood tests show that his kidney function has improved significantly.
Jack needs his increased energy because he has work to do. He calls bookstores, publicists, radio hosts, and celebrities.
He thinks everyone should read his book.
Click here to order Heirloom Stories from the Harnessmaker's Son.
Turn Memories into Medicine
If you were born before World War II, you'll especially enjoy reading Heirloom Stories from the Harnessmaker's Son because it will trigger memories. Turn those memories into medicine by telling your stories.
Elders are natural storytellers. It's one of the few things we improve at, and it's what elders are valued for in traditional societies.
Younger people have lots of natural behaviors to chose from, but for the physically limited, storytelling may be the only natural behavior available.
Other societies encourage storytelling by elders. In ours, writing is the best way to tell stories. It's work, but it's worth it. It will lift your mood, improve your health, and increase your lifespan. Just don't tell any stories about the Mafia.
If you don't enjoy writing, there are ways around it. There is no record of Jack ever writing two sentences in a row, yet he co-authored Harnessmaker's Son. Telephones and fax machines allow you to write your stories with anyone. (See the suggestions on the parents page.)
Relatives are the best co-authors, but anyone interested in hearing your stories is health-promoting for you: Grandkids, college students, journalists, or professional writers. Make sure you send copies of your stories to your grandkids. They're instant heirlooms. They will be in your family forever.
You're feeling better already, aren't you?
Use Heirloom Stories from the Harnessmaker's Son as a memory trigger and model for your stories. It's also a lot of fun. Click here to order your copy
Click here for help in writing stories.
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