Aldergrove resident Dean Broughton can help peice together family stories into a unique memoir.
He found that out by conversing with his own 82-year-old father, Bert.
“My dad and I were not close growing up, but we started to reconnect in the last decade,” Broughton explained. “We started going for beers and when COVID become too dangerous for him to go to the Fox and Hounds, we would go for drives on the old country roads in Aldergrove.”
That’s where the father and son started having deeper conversations. Broughton would ask him questions while recording them on his iPhone.
“Then I started a blog and documented our drives at deanbroughton.wordpress.com,” he said.
Broughton started his journalism career at the Langley Advance, later taking an editor job at the Merritt News, next at the Vernon Sun Review, and then Penticton Herald.
“I moved back to Vancouver in 2001 and worked in Richmond before starting 24 hours free daily newspaper in 2005. And eventually reached career goal of getting to the Vancouver Sun where I worked for six years,” the journalist noted.
That’s when the idea to get to know Bert better arose for Broughton.
“I never met my grandfather so did some digging and found his regiments’ war diaries,” he said.
He was at Vimy Ridge, prompting Broughton to follow his footsteps through Northern France to see if he could get to know his grandfather’s experiences.
“He kept a field notebook but the only thing he had in there was his crib scores,” Broughton laughed. “It made me think it was a real lost opportunity to learn his stories and what kind of man he was.”
Broughton grew up in Aldergrove and graduated in 1986 from Aldergrove High School.
“My parents moved to Aldergrove from Vancouver in 1972. We lived there beside the arena until 2011 when they moved to Pioneer Park,” he recalled, adding that his father worked constantly when he was growing up.
Bert was a marine electrician and commuted to and from North Vancouver for 30 years.
In 2018, they moved into an assisted living home in Langley. Broughton’s mother, Ethel, passed away in 2019.
“So, that sparked the idea of Your Living Legacy. I set out to collect people’s stories. The process is quite easy, but what makes it unique is the questions I ask,” Broughton said.
The journalist uses his storytelling background to find little details in people’s stories and get them to expand on that. “Often they rethink stories they have told before and reveal new elements,” Broughton shared. “There are often themes they haven’t connected so it’s a journey of discovery.”
Ultimately, the aim of Your Living Legacy is to help people understand themselves as they continue their life adventures.
He said the response has been amazing and finds that people had no idea their parent had so many amazing adventures.
“We live in a time where much of our lives are on Facebook. But we don’t own those memories –Facebook does,” Broughton suggested. “It’s a great moment to reflect and revere the stories that make us who we are.”
Offered up in different service packages, people can enlist Broughton to dive into their family history, pick apart the particulars, and present his findings in different memoir formats from essays to 2,000 word magazine spreads.
Visit www.yourlivinglegacy.org for more details.
“Everyone has a story to tell. Sometimes it takes a little curiosity to find it,” Broughton concluded.
Have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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