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  Writing about your memories - yes this is OT
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Picture of Lurah
On the Good Dishes thread, posters made mention of wishing Gpa or other relatives would have talked more about life back then to us. Another poster doubted her family would care if she did document her life in stories.

Well friends, yes, you should and yes, the next generation will be glad we did!

Have you ever experienced what I note as a "heartwarming day?" Mine usually come when I go back to my hometown to attend a ceremony or event, see someone I haven't seen in a long time, etc. They are always a leisurely day with no cares and I eventually drag myself back home with a flood of memories.

For the last several years I then sit down at my word processor and write about the experience, who I saw, what we talked about, what I remember from years ago.

Sometimes it's just funny stories about whatever, some old "gossip" that ended up being the truth, changes I notice in structures or the lay of the land, who used to live in a particular house, their family story and what I recall about being a guest there.

When I was a kid, there were always the hushed conversations my mom and aunts had about various acquaintances. I knew better then than to ask who they were referring to.
But I did finally ask a year ago about 2 particular tidbits of information - who was that adopted girl's biological mother and what really was wrong with Mrs. Smith whom I never had seen?

We've had some special vacations I jotted into my journal so I won't forget any minute detail.

And the best one was 2 years ago at a hometown reception, all the gang we hung out with as young newlyweds was together after 30+ years!
I sat with my ears open and heard a friend explain in detail how he lost his business in a poor economy, and how another friend recovered from a heartbreaking divorce from the funniest guy in the group, about one guy not ever getting over losing his wife, the wild weekends on the boats at the lake and rescuing our friend (crippled from polio as a child) who broke his good leg at the campground shower.

The writing doesn't have to be a book length project, maybe a short story or chapter length.
Topics are endless. Choose one thing and just write what you know about it.
Don't worry about your writing skills. Who cares, unless you want to make millions with publishing your work, your family will love you for whatever is put into words.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
Posts: 2642 | Location: Midwest | Registered: Nov 29, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Florida Farm Girl
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Lurah, those are grand ideas. I bought somewhere, I think at the storytelling museum in Jonesborough, TN, a little book that you can use as a prompt for writing stories. Each page has a different question or idea such as "what was your favorite thing about school", or "who was your favorite teacher", or "how did you meet your husband" and they went on and on. Everything from the mundane to the outrageous. If a person followed that book, the results would be astonishing because of all the memories that would be triggered.

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Posts: 6231 | Location: Northwest Florida | Registered: Dec 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Quiltzilla
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Posts: 6627 | Registered: Aug 22, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of KeepYouInStitches
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I bought two of these:

One for me and one for my mother. Whenever I visited her, I'd see it and ask if she'd been writing in it. At first it was no she didn't have time. Then it was 'a little.' Then as each question jogged her memory she wrote more and more.

She died March a year ago. I picked up the book and took it with me to visitation. The preacher came up to me and asked me for some stories. I handed the book to him. He also talked to my aunt. We laughed because she told him some of the same growing up stories that Mama had written about.

After the services the next day one of my brothers asked where the preacher got all that information...I told him about the book. I plan to copy it for each of the brothers. I just now figured out why I haven't done it yet. For now, it's all mine. Whew...I didn't mean to go there now.
Posts: 16562 | Location: Daingerfield, TX | Registered: Feb 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of lady of shallot
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I guess folk differ in more ways than one would think! I mean about acceptances of family stories etc.

When my Mom died nearly 18 years ago it was a hot August day for the funeral. One sister had a reception for all our large family. I thought it would be nice to have a record of all who were there and went around to have them sign a piece of paper. More were annoyed than appreciative of the idea!

But then when DGD was little she used to say, "grandma, tell me a story about when you were a little girl, or Mom was a little girl"

My husband's sister did a wonderful thing that we very much appreciated. She interviewed her mother on tape about whatever my MIL wanted to say. It was a wandering and fitful monologue but fascinating and informative, just not linear or structured. We played this on the long drive to her funeral and it was so soothing for our small family

DH has kept a daily journal for years.

It is true that we miss much in our own family history. Just yesterday a sister and I were talking on the phone. Neither of us have any idea how our parents met, what their courtship was. Neither of them told us, except that my mother said she used to visit my dad's mother and they would sit under a grape arbor!
Posts: 12210 | Registered: Jun 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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KYIS, thanks for the link to that book...I just ordered 2, one for me and one for my Mom!
Posts: 80 | Registered: Sep 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of KeepYouInStitches
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Good! I have worked on mine from time to time. DS picked it up, realized what it was and put it down. I told him it was okay. He replied, I don't want to read it now. It's for later.

I also have the journal I kept when I first found out that I 'may' have been pregnant with him...after 10 years and some-odd months of trying to accomplish that. He doesn't want to read it yet either. I guess he's saving those memories for when I am no longer around - another 20 or so years. Wink
Posts: 16562 | Location: Daingerfield, TX | Registered: Feb 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think that's sweet that your son wants to wait until "later" to read what you've written. It will wonderful to explore those adventures and treasure those memories.

I haven't told my Mom or daughters that I've ordered these books...just keeping it to myself for now...
Posts: 80 | Registered: Sep 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Kathy_in_wlsv
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We have a small collection of written stories from several family members about different relatives, bound in a folder, its nice to see. I keep meaning to gather up more and maybe self publish... a few of the stories are just amazing and wonderful.

Ask me about my grandmother selling her hair to the gypsies.

Life is GOOD!!
Posts: 1516 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: Nov 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of elsie123
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KYIS, I gave that same book to my mother in 1997 asking her take her time and write as much as she wanted to. She died in 2002, and sadly hadn't written a thing. I don't think it was in her comfort level. I have a note in the book dated 2003 that while her memories are not written, in her place I would write my own.

I dug out the book today after reading your post, and see that I have indeed answered several of the prompts. I also see that there are many more for me to answer, so it's not going back on the bookshelf just yet.

My sister is the genealogy go-to person in our family. She interviewed almost all of the aunts and uncles, along with Mom and Dad, and has tapes and transcriptions that she's passed along to family members.

Yep, it's nice to have this information to pass on to the next generation...and it's nice for us to enjoy a few memories in the meantime.
Posts: 1383 | Location: Texas | Registered: Mar 05, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When my husbands aunt went to make her funeral arrangements, the directer taped an interview with her, he asked her some prepared questions about her life from her first memories until today, he also had her bring some photos along and these were added to the tape. The family got this after she passed, it was a wonderful memory of her.

Posts: 1729 | Registered: Jul 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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