“Elders owe the family their wisdom…and they need to write their letters to their grandchildren.”

–Terry Hargrave, Ph.D., Inter-generational Pioneer, Marriage and Family Therapist
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A variety of services are offered:

Group Programs

As a speaker and member of the Speakers Bureau of the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Personal Historians, I offer the following brief programs, each participative and between 60-90 minutes:

Mining Wisdom’s Gold: How to Write Your Legacy Letter: A brief guide to writing a legacy letter, which includes heritage, the writer’s life lessons and values, and the conveying of love to descendants.

Guided Autobiography: Your Life Story on Paper, Two Pages at a Time: The value of capturing stories of your life, primarily for your own pleasure, perhaps to be given to others.

How to Write a Blessing: A guided reflective experience designed to take participants through the writing of the beauty seen in another person, something especially meaningful in legacy letters.

The Story of Your Name: A delightful exploration of the personal and family meaning of your first name.

Your Life is Your Legacy: Four-letter Words to Live By: Discovering the values which underlie your decisions and actions, and are embedded in your legacy.

Having the Last Word: The Importance—and Yes, the Pleasure!—of Writing Your Own Obituary: Yes, this is an unusual activity! Why should you do this? Because you can, and doing it will save those you love enormous confusion in a time of grief, and also assure you are described as you wish to be.

The Measure of Our Days: An exploration into how aging brings us the possibilities of wisdom, what wisdom looks like, and how to attain it.

Programs may be customized to meet your group’s needs, both in terms of time and focus. Please contact Edna to discuss your group’s needs.

Hospitals, retirement communities, hospices, civic groups, and religious and spiritual congregations may find any of these themes of interest. Contact Edna through the Contact Form or 630–204–1650.

Personal Biography

As a personal biographer, I am delighted to discuss life history with any individual. This includes adult children who wish their parents to write their stories for their family.

I offer private time with the narrator as we focus together on capturing your story and getting it into printed form. You can expect to enjoy the storytelling process and the opportunity to live in “the long view” of your life.

          Gathering the Story

  1. We talk together and our conversation is recorded.
  2. Our conversation is transcribed and edited for readability and flow, keeping the narrator’s voice intact.
  3. The storyteller reads the edited document and changes are agreed upon, up to three times.
  4. The story is rewritten, professionally edited, and is ready for the next phase.

         Designing and Printing

  1. Relevant photos and documents (e.g., military records, maps, newspaper articles) are collected and scanned.
  2. A design professional will layout and create the book. This includes but is not limited to: photo and document layout, choosing fonts, chapter headings, and dust jacket design.
  3. The entire book is professionally edited and proofed.
  4. The book will then be printed and bound.

Tribute Books

A Tribute Book is a written gift to an individual while that person is alive, or it may be a gift in memory. It may be created by one person, or by many coming together to collectively write of and honor an individual—or two individuals, such as parents, a partnership, a team, or a military unit—whose  existence  has been of deep significance.

I am delighted to collaborate with those who wish to pay tribute in this way. Several of the steps outlined above in “Gathering the Story” and Designing and Printing” are relevant to Tribute Books. A Tribute Book is a respectful gift of joy to the recipient(s), and, of course, to those who participate in its creation. We can discuss your needs as you contemplate such a book, and tailor the process to meet those needs.