How It All Began

I like to tell this story because it tells a bit about who we are and how it all started. In 1995, I gave a copy of DG's book - To Our Children's Children - to my Mom and Dad for Christmas. My Mom, being the wonderfully organized person she is, set about answering every question in the book. She gave it back to me on my birthday in May, nearly five months later. I remember opening the book and seeing her answers to so many questions I never would have thought to ask her. I burst into tears (I've only done that one other time in my life) and realized that I was holding one of my most prized possessions from my life — my Mom's life story.

I remember asking Dad to finish his but he would always say that he was too busy, that he just couldn't remember all the answers, or that - okay okay - he'd someday get to answering all those questions. He died without warrning at age 55. My happy, joyful Dad who was a friend to all - was gone. This story is not about the pain of losing a loved one but the sense of loss was immense.

I didn't think about the book until one day I was sorting his things and found the book I had given to him. I remember flipping the pages and smiling and laughing, feeling him near me as I read his answers and then I could almost feel his life stop on page 25 as the rest of the book was blank. Mine was a feeling of profound regret that I would never know the answers to all the questions I should have asked him.

And so I set about trying to recommend To Our Children's Children to loved ones, friends, and colleagues so that they wouldn't experience that deep, deep regret I felt of not asking, not knowing, and not being able to pass on the details of someone's life. But I kept thinking, there's got to be a way the book could be put online so that biographies were easier to write, easier to share, and easier to publish. And so one sunny day in 2003, D.G. and I finally talked about how it could be done.

The rest is best told over a beer of how two determined women started The Remembering Site with two great colleagues who believed in us — Brian Kirschenmann and Aaron Rugg who were the technical designers of the site.