If you spent any time listening to the radio during the 30+ years spanning May, 1976 through February, 2009, you instantly connected The Rest of the Story with the distinctive voice of news broadcaster and radio personality, Paul Harvey.
With a little help from Wikipedia, let me refresh your memory. The Rest of the Story was a Monday-through-Friday radio program that consisted of stories on a variety of subjects, presented as little-known or forgotten facts, with some key element of the story (usually the name of some well-known person) held back until the end.
It was a great recipe for storytelling.
Paul Harvey was the host. Each broadcast opened the same way; “You know what the news is. In a minute, you’re going to hear the REST of the story.” (I can still hear his unique voice and delivery style.) This was followed by a 30–second commercial, at the conclusion of which Paul resumed, “And now… the rest of the story.”
Did you stop everything to listen to one of those broadcasts when it came on the air?
I sure did.
For me, it was that every story was like a puzzle… a mystery to unravel. Paul gave you the puzzle pieces as he began painting a verbal portrait of someone… or something… or someplace. The more clues he revealed, the harder you looked for threads that were familiar to you.
Was there something in his clues that you recognized? Could you solve the puzzle with the information he gave you? Or did you need to wait for Paul to give you the punchline?
That is exactly how I feel when I start paging through old family photos.
Each photo is a piece of a larger family puzzle. One difference between Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story and an old family photo is that no one needs to paint you a verbal portrait.
You are looking at it. The clues are right in front of you.
Is there something in the photo that you recognize? Is this an easy puzzle to solve with the information you have, or do you need to ask other family members for some help? Are there other photos that were taken at the same time and place? Is there anything in those photos that will help you piece things together?
I enjoy a good puzzle as much as I enjoy a good story. However, unlike Paul’s radio broadcast, you don’t always know who, if anyone, will be able to help you solve the puzzle if you don’t have enough information to do it on your own.
That’s one of the cool things about families. When you are trying to make sense of the clues, you find that everybody in the family knows something, but nobody knows everything. So, you can cast a wide net and try to “family source” the solution.
Think about a time when you were sitting around the kitchen table with some of your extended family. The conversation turns to an old photo album that had been gathering dust in the attic. Someone had considered it worth keeping, but it was set aside, only to be neglected and forgotten, until it was spied again during a chance visit to that attic.
You knew it came from Grandma’s apartment, where she had quietly lived out the last months of her long and fruitful life. Perhaps you remember seeing it on the lower shelf of her living room coffee table. But you never had a chance to page through it with her… to see it through her eyes while she recalled the special people, places, and events that helped shape who she was.
So, there you are at the kitchen table. The album is opened it to everyone who is gathered there; aunts and uncles… cousins… siblings… nieces and nephews.
Who is he? What was he like?
Where was that taken? Have you ever been there?
What is that on the fireplace mantle? Does anybody know what happened to it?
What was the occasion? Were any of you there?
Gradually, the facts are assembled from the clues in front of you. Names are associated with faces. Homes are connected to families. Heirlooms are identified. Special occasions are recognized.
And as the facts become known, the family memories start to unfold. Stories are told. Personal anecdotes are shared. Some are firsthand accounts. Others are retellings of things they had heard, the best they could remember them.
All of it transports you back to times and places that help connect you to your roots. Who were these people? What were their interests? How did they meet? Where did they live? What did they sacrifice? What did they achieve? What setbacks did they encounter? What obstacles did they overcome?
You are a product of all that came before you. The better you know them, the better you will know yourself.
That’s why, at some point in our lives, we all want to know our ancestors better. We all want to know… the rest of the story.
We would love to help you with that. To help you gather your family around a virtual kitchen table where you can share some photos, establish some facts, and let the stories unfold. That is what we designed our TightKnit web app to do.
Here’s to following the clues,
P.S. If you remember Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story and want to take a trip down memory lane, or even if you are just a little curious, visit the Unofficial Paul Harvey Archives and download a few episodes. Careful though. There are over 3,000 of them, and it’s just a little bit addicting. 😊
TightKnit is the perfect place for families and friends to share and preserve their photos, memories and life stories, together.
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