Memoir Monday — Sharing What Margaret Remembers

I’m currently working with a few people who are writing their life stories: one is a woman whose father was federally indicted in the 1970s (more on her in a later blog, as well as a guest blog); another is a woman writing a compilation story-by-story of her childhood; and another is a family who is scheduling the next family gathering so that I can spend a day recording favorite stories.

When we work on memoir, we all have different styles, tones and ways of writing.  Some know exactly what they want to write from start to finish, others need prompting, and others know what they want to say and write about but just don’t have the tools or means to know where to begin.  As archaic as it sounds in this age of technology, I’m in the process of re-typing some handwritten notes and letters from family members that I can save to disc and put in Roots Web, the program that I use to track my own family history.  If you don’t have Roots Web and really don’t care to purchase Roots Web, we can get started by using my version.  You see, there is no right or wrong, just write!

One of my projects from last year involved someone who hired me to interview her mother-in-law for favorite stories about all her children (the mother-in-law’s children).  Here’s what she had to say:  “We were celebrating our family Christmas when the ‘kids’ (now adult) opened their books.  The immediate reaction was silence… followed by smiles.”

An excerpt from that same book:  [I picked up some narrative as she was looking at pictures from a photo album.]

That was our wedding picture.  His brother and sister-in-law were our attendants. We hid our car behind this building downtown across another street.  They knew he would do something to the car, so we hid it the day before behind this building which was across the next street over from where we had our picture taken. We made a deal the day before with the people that were gonna take the pictures ‘cause they were upstairs above the store, and we could come down, go through the store, and it was open on both sides and get to the car.  His folks took us in their car, and we put gunny sacks over the windows so that they couldn’t see and he thought that our car was in their garage, his folks’ garage, and we were long gone before he realized that we weren’t in town anymore.”

I am so lucky that people will share their stories with me — do you have a story you want to share that I can feature?  Stay tuned for more Monday Memoir blog posts.Excerpt reprinted with permission. Printing Courtesy of the Color Factor, Prescott, AZ.  (Name covered up intentionally and excerpt reprinted with permission.)

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