by Patricia Hamilton
One of the many pleasures of living and working in Pacific Grove is running into friends, neighbors and business colleagues during a stroll downtown. That’s exactly what happened to me the other day just as I was turning into the doorway leading to my office on Lighthouse Avenue. Who should be coming out of an adjacent door but Moe Ammar, President of the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce, as he exited Pacific Grove Travel.
We greeted each other and I thanked Moe for giving a favorable interview about Park Place Publications. I added, “Storytelling is trending and I love that my business is to help people tell their stories—for good.” Then I asked Moe for an update on his grandson.
“He’s so wonderful, Patricia, but I wish the family lived closer,” Moe replied. “I do Facetime on my phone with him nearly every day.”
“Good, Moe. But… are you writing your stories for him?”
“My stories? Humph!” Moe shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
I wanted to tell him about the awesome Dragon Dictation app—you talk and the words flow onto a text document that you can edit later—a wonderful tool for people who want to put their words on paper but don’t consider themselves natural writers … or don’t have the time. It’s always best to write the way you talk, so the app serves well.
Instead, I called after him, “Always marketing, Moe!”
I do seem to be on a mission to tell people how important their stories are and how valuable it is to write down any little detail about their lives. Can you imagine how meaningful and exciting it would be to have a few letters—or a book—from a parent, grandparent, or even a great-grandparent or beyond? Any scrap from the past is precious and pure gold to those of us in the present, so grounding to us all. Just thinking about it gives me chills, that someone whose DNA I carry might have been thinking about me generations before I was born—and reached across time.
We all know that Moe has been a prominent figure in Pacific Grove for many years. Isn’t it conceivable that someone in the next generation—or the generation after that—would like to read stories about how he earned the Key the Pacific Grove AND a personalized license place that says, “Key to PG”?
With all due respect to Moe Ammar and his many contributions to our town …
“Next time, please don’t run away when I ask you to put your life stories on paper! Don’t do it for yourself, although it’s very enriching—do it for your children, your grandchildren, and for the residents of the City of Pacific Grove. Do it for me. I want to know how you manage to organize so many great events in Pacific Grove and grow them to monumental proportions over the years. And how you get dozens of people to volunteer to run the events, staff the two Visitor Centers, clean our highways, raise money for a variety of causes, and more. And how you fill vacant storefronts and work with P.G. businesses, including my own Park Place Publications, to meet the needs of our residents, to prosper and to grow. You could write the textbook on how to create popular community events and market a small town, not just for classes at MPC, but for the hospitality industry nationwide.
“Your stories will give our residents a stronger sense of place, which is instrumental in buying local, right? It’ll give us another reason to “Green for Go” this Friday!
“But don’t write your stories just for us. Do it for the generations yet to come. As we approach Independence Day, seems to me your life is the classic American story—coming here from another land in search of freedom and opportunity, finding success and contentment through your own hard work and inborn talent. That story deserves to be preserved!
“If you’re not familiar with New York Times columnist Bruce Feiler, I encourage you to Google his name and do some reading. His research has shown that one of the biggest factors in determining the resiliency of children is whether they have a strong sense of their family history. This is a priceless gift that only you can give your children and grandchildren.
“Many people tell me that their children aren’t interested in their story, or their family history. This may be true in many cases—but grandchildren and great-grandchildren are often a different story. They find these stories from what, to them, is the distant past, to be fascinating, inspiriting, and even cool. For example, a grandchild who is struggling to find a good job after college graduation will find strength from an ancestor’s tale of overcoming similar challenges.
“Moe, do it for the grandson whom you communicate with every day by Facetime on the phone. Someday, he’ll thank you for putting your life story on paper and leaving a legacy for the family—I guarantee it.”
Sincerely, Patricia Hamilton
Patricia Hamilton, owner of Park Place Publications, helps authors tell their stories, from conception through publication and distribution. She and Affiliate Joyce Krieg offer Guided Autobiography classes, pioneered by Dr. James Birren. For more information call Patricia t 831-649-6640 or go to www.parkplacepublications and www.keepersofourculture.com