Residents at Laclede Groves, a Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) Life Plan Community in Webster Groves, Missouri, have been digging into their own memories with a little prompting from staff. Lifestyle Enrichment staff at Laclede Groves have led interested residents in a Legacy Project in gathering stories from their lives.
Through a series of prompts, residents provided stories from their life to the staff who organized, typed, and bound each resident’s stories into a booklet. Many of the residents are planning to share the book with their family members.
“It’s important to pass information onto your children and grandchildren,” said Barbara Balzer, Laclede Groves resident. “This opportunity came up, so I thought it was a good opportunity – especially since they typed it all up for me!”
Barbara especially enjoyed writing her memories from poignant dates in history such as December 7, 1941, (the day Pearl Harbor was attacked) and September 11, 2001 (the day of the 9/11 attacks on the United States). She shared her booklet with her granddaughter first.
Al Schumacher, another Laclede Groves resident, had written his family’s history before with the help of a historian, Lori Jurgiel. But this project was more stories and memories and less linear in time than his previous writings. Al especially enjoyed writing the stories about his travels with his wife including one trip they took to Asia visiting Hong Kong, China, Thailand, and Japan.
Residents weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the Legacy Project. Staff who helped out by typing up the stories and creating prompts relished getting to know more about the residents.
“Reading these stories is fascinating,” said Kristina Wille, Laclede Groves Director of Community Enrichment.
Laclede Groves staff worked with residents on stories such as seeing a young Tina Turner perform, crossing the ocean during World War II, surviving scarlet fever, and many others.
“I looked at the stories I wrote about and they’ll be lost unless we take time to share them,” said Al. “Realistically the only things people remember is when you are born, maybe when you are married, and when you died. But there is more to life than those statistics.”