Having too much time on one’s hands can be a dangerous thing, but when my mom turned 80 and I had not a clue what to give her, it proved otherwise. We started this project; she talked, I wrote, and eventually it was a book, the first picture life book, which even her grandchildren think is cool.

I learned a lot about why my mom and I are the way we are, which meant I had a better understanding and more compassion. But the other part is the stories. I realized how important all these funny family tales are and how tragic it would be if they were lost. So, I set about figuring out a way to preserve family stories for others.

Making these books leads me to think a lot about what Jonas Salk said: “Our greatest responsibility is to be a good ancestor.”