Following graduation from Wellesley College, I traveled abroad to live and work, first in Bahrain and later in Fiji and the United Kingdom. For more than two decades I profiled individuals from different cultures and produced high-quality memoirs for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers in the United States and Europe and for the Gulf Air in-flight magazine. A common theme was the way in which people adapt to changing circumstances and the interesting and unique ways in which they shape their lives and create communities.
In telling you something about myself, it is important to describe the event that lent oral history particular significance to me. When I was in my fifties my husband died suddenly, followed by my mother and father a few years later. Of course, I knew a lot about them and their lives, but in their absence, I found I lacked the connective tissue that linked the stories they had told me into a meaningful legacy. I had not always listened as carefully as I should, believing there was still time to record their histories in detail for our family. The absence of a deep and meaningful narrative for those closest to me was a great loss.
As is true for many, when I was in my teens and twenties I was close to my family but I was absorbed in my own life. When I was older and my interest in histories increased, I faced books and boxes filled with wonderful but unidentified photographs of people and places about which I will never know. Even if I know who they are, I have no stories to go with the images. My goal is to make sure that doesn't happen to others.