A new kind of treasure in the attic...

Recently the unpublished documents and papers of Salmon Rushdie were bought in order to preserve and likely publish. Access to his personal notes on his computer were so far reaching that the buyers even had access to his file called “My Money”! They weren't searching through scraps of actual paper with notes scribbled left around the house. His whole computer was up for grabs and they were able to use it all.

While I am sure that significant documents worthy of publishing will soon grace readers worldwide, the point to be made is that it was all on his computer, and it had to be bought, for us to find out more.

Here is my question. When you die, can you see your loved ones caressing your old CPU? How about safely storing your old computer in their attic to look at lovingly once in awhile? Will they take the time to print out documents to read later? Will they have password access to your facebook account in order to see your life in updated photos and status remarks? Cloud servers can handle all the extra documents we throw at them in order for safe-keeping from hard drive crashes. Are all of us using them yet and have we made sure to pass along our passwords so that loved ones will be able to access it? We are so security minded in our day and age that perhaps we haven't made an actual document for safe-keeping that holds the passwords to access our digital lives. My fear is that there will be a huge gap of time where the lives of those long gone will not be able to be researched due to this fact! Historians are going to have to buy up a lot of computers in order to find out the real story about us.


My cousin was killed by a drunk driver awhile back and he was a professional computer hacker hired by airports and the like to help them find faults with their security systems. So, life any computer whizz he maintained a family history via Youtube films and Facebook. He left behind three kids and a wife. She thankfully has maintained his Facebook account but is that what his kids will have to hold onto in their future searches for their father? Will they have to sit down and plug in to read his old status updates? It's a problem many of us are facing. Not enough hard copy of our history. And what a lot of work for his grieving wife to print and store everything. Is there a scrapbooking guru lurking in all of us? I don't know about you but…

The photos mounting up in my Google Picasa file is too daunting to even consider organizing. But what if I don't? Who will do it for me? Who will do it for my kids if I go?

Here's a starting point: begin with your parents. Chances are they are quietly enjoying retirement – or finally living it up – and haven't thought about this. The older generations are wonderfully humble and don't want to be in the spotlight. But if you mention you want a document of their life for your kids and future generations, they may perk up.

After all, memoirs aren't typically ordered by those who want to go on about their own life. They are commissioned by loved ones who think their story should be told and recorded for safekeeping, accuracy and enjoyment for descendents. Ways to do this are to hire someone to interview them, and produce a documentary or keepsake of their life. Change the way they will be remembered. You'll feel better about it – but wait til you see the impact it has on them.

Many declare that for the first time they feel their life has value and their stories will be told for generations – keeping them around for awhile longer - so to speak. It's peaceful to know that you have left your legacy and words of wisdom. Imagine if you had that from your great-grandpa? A mini-movie will bring your history alive – and the tv screen flickering is sure to attract that younger generation that we are so desperate to teach our values to.

So don't let the cloud servers, the wide-mouthed monster that is the internet, or the larger gig computers be the only thing that you have to hold onto your history. Put it in a book, a history dvd or photos for future historians and family members to find. It'll be the new treasure in the attic.