LifeTimes March 2017

March 2017/No. 44

For BenTerner, family history is a matter of short stories

“1929, the year of my birth, marked the beginning of the Great Depression,” writes BenTerner, 87, in the first of a series of short stories that form the basis of his autobiography. “Despite that fact, life has been good to me,” he continues. “I had good parents, good friends, a caring extended family, and more than my share of good fortune.” Words of regret never enter the conversation.

Terner moved from Silver Spring to Revitz House in 2015, but since the late 90s he has been teaching its residents how to write about their families—not as a pieced-together chronology of events, but rather as short, colorful narratives about relatives, their important relationships, formative influences and experiences, and the challenges that defined their lives. In brief, he teaches his students how to do precisely what he has

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“Life has been good to me,” says Ben Terner of Revitz House.

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