Looking Forward, Looking Back

Bridging generations through life stories

Looking Forward, Looking Back, Bridging Generations through Life Stories is historical preservation, one family at a time.

The Eppes-Jefferson Foundation operates Looking Forward, Looking Back in collaboration with like-minded charitable organizations:

  • Charitable organizations provide physical space and enthusiastic participants.
  • Eppes-Jefferson Foundation conducts the workshops.
  • There is no charge to organizations or attendees.

When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning down.”

– African Proverb

Everyone has important stories to tell. The Eppes-Jefferson Foundation, Inc. has created this workshop to inspire you to capture life stories before another “library” burns down.

Generations may be bridged from either direction: Seniors may initiate or younger family members may spark action to preserve memories that otherwise will evaporate.

Thoughtful stories produce vivid impressions while conveying life lessons. And anyone can tell a two-minute, three-paragraph story

Your active participation in our workshop will assure that you leave with newly created life story content in your hands. Choose your format: a legacy letter, a brief story, or a spoken word recording. Bring your pen and your smartphone or other audio/video recording device to the workshop and we’ll show you how!

Anything you create during the workshop, basic or brilliant, will someday be treasured by someone.

Listen as GW speaks from his heart.

A Story from David Ward, Co-Executive Director

I was named after my grandfather, David Ward, who died in 1967 at age 57. He was “Dave” and I was “Davey.” I’ve got a lot of questions I’d like to ask him, but I’m decades too late. And it’s too late to ask my grandmother, my father, and my aunt and uncle.

I was only 12 when he died, with no means or foresight to have created a better record of his life. His image is preserved in a few precious photographs, but we have no recordings capturing his mannerisms or the sound of his voice. I wish I had paid closer attention to the stories he told over and over at family gatherings.

Two generations later, I’m proud to have my own grandson, David Ward. Now I’m “Dave” and he’s “Davey.” I’m determined to preserve our family stories for Davey and all of my descendants. In the process I contribute to a richer understanding of our family heritage, I model behavior for younger generations to emulate over time, and I satisfy my personal curiosity and sense of family duty.

“I have listened again to the Legacy Interview recorded years ago by my grandfather, and I am overcome with gratitude to have preserved our family stories. “Papa” was a man of few words, but when he spoke it was with kindness and wisdom. His initial hesitancy in answering questions quickly gave way to enthusiastic story-telling as he paged through his musty old photo album from the 1940’s.

He told animated stories of his World War II service in the South Pacific, and tales of post-war first date and proposal to my grandmother, the love of his life, and more. Even though they have both passed, I can still experience his deep love for family in ways that would not be possible without hearing his voice on this recording. Thank you for making this possible! This is a cherished heirloom that I will pass along to my children and their children in the years to come.”

A Granddaughter’s Expression of Gratitude

“I didn’t think I would ever hear Dad’s voice again. Now I suppose I have it forever. What a precious gift!”

“You’ll never know really how much this interview has touched me. I’ve wept, and laughed until I cried. I will treasure this forever.”

Daughters of GW

Interested in the Looking Forward, Looking Back program?