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By Jason Carrozza

Hi Everyone!!!

Happy Wednesday!!!! In my last post, we discussed how we remember our departed loved ones. This week, I wanted to take time to discuss personal family histories. I’ve asked personal historian, Marjorie Turner Hollman, to discuss her experience putting together her father’s memoir. Please enjoy! __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve been a personal historian for a number of years, and have seen how powerful the experience of documenting and preserving one’s family stories can be. We personal historians often talk about the gift of passing on family stories to the next generation, assuring that you’re not forgotten and more. But I never realized that doing the work of preserving your family legacy—the photos that tell stories, documents, letters, and the stories themselves—can actually be a powerful time machine. My dad taught me this, as he taught me so much else.

I was ready to wrap up Dad’s memoir when my sister handed me a box of family papers. In the box I found the courtship letters Dad had written (every day!) to my mother as she finished her last year of college. They lived hours apart from each other, saw little of each other during this time, and were deeply in love.

I brought the letters to Dad to see if he was willing to share them with us in his memoir. He expressed trepidation: he had no idea what he might have said 60 years ago. Mom had been dead 12 years, and he had never stopped mourning her loss.

When I met him for breakfast the next morning, his 89-year old face shone. He thanked me for bringing the letters to him. And then he said, “I stayed up to midnight reading these, and it felt like I was sitting there writing to her, just like it was 60 years ago.” He handed me the letters “for safekeeping.” They had served their purpose.

With his blessing I transcribed and included his letters in his completed memoir, which Dad was able to hold before he died. A theme flowed throughout those notes from a 26-year old man to his bride-to-be. “We’re apart for now, but soon we’ll be together, as we were meant to be.” Only weeks after his book was complete Dad was, indeed with Mom again, as they were meant to be. But those letters had been a surprise time-machine, transporting him back to a time when he was young, and deeply in love with the woman he would be happily married to for 50 years.

There is no guarantee where the time machine of documenting your legacy will take you. If you’re very lucky, you may be transported to a time of great joy, which you just may be willing to share with your loved ones. But you’ll never know unless you’re willing to take a step inside.

Marjorie Turner Hollman

Marjorie Turner Hollman’s history degree is from Bridgewater State College. Her fifteen years as a professional storyteller have given her personal history work a unique perspective. She is the Chapter Coordinator for the Association of Personal Historian’s New England Chapter, is a Certified Legacy Planner with, and is the producer of the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project.

About the Author
Jason M. Carrozza is a partner and founder of Family Legal Partners, P.C., previously owning Carrozza Law Office, P.C., which focused on estate planning, probate administration, and business formation. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. Graduating magna cum laude from New England Law and ranked 3rd in his class, Jason completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He gained experience in civil litigation, divorce, corporate, and insurance defense law firms before opening his practice in 2004. Jason is admitted to practice before the Massachusetts Courts, is a trained family law mediator, and a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. He has volunteered for pro bono panels with Senior Partners For Justice, South Middlesex Legal Services, and the New Center for Legal Advocacy. Dedicated to his community, he has served in various leadership roles including vice president of the Bellingham Business Association and Master of Excelsior Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. He teaches Estate Planning Basics at the Tri County Continuing Adult Education program and speaks at estate planning seminars throughout the year. An avid baseball fan and history enthusiast, Jason enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Zachary and Madelyn.