All too often we seniors miss the opportunity to share important facts about our lives. These include many things our children and grandchildren would like to know about but the question arises, how and when? Rosemary has found an answer to this dilemma and shares it here.
“Ping”. That is my phone telling me it’s Monday morning and I have received my question from StoryWorth. This is an online way to share stories about your life that become a hard cover book that will contain a year of your own personal stories.
For the last year I have been getting a question to answer with a story every Monday morning at nine o’clock. If I don’t like the question, I can choose from a list of optional questions or make up one of my own to better tell a story about my life. The story can be as short as one paragraph or even one phrase. Some of my stories were several pages long. Each story becomes a chapter in the final book.
About a year ago one of our friends received a gift from their daughter that started them on a yearlong project to write their own stories, creating a memoir. When we heard this, my husband and I decided to do this ourselves. Each would create their own.
For the past year we have been getting these questions from StoryWorth and sending an answer in story form back to them. Not only did we enjoy the process of writing, we also loved talking about these questions with each other and with friends. I learned many things about my husband that were new to me even after fifty-four years of marriage.
Some weeks the question just didn’t bring up a story for me to tell when I first got it. Then after a couple of days, a memory would arise. Sometimes I would talk with a friend and after a while we would both remember a story we wanted to share. For example, one question was, “What was your favorite store when you were a child?”
After talking a while, my friend and I each remembered such a favorite. Mine was Uncle Joe’s Store. It made me smile to recall the store and my favorite chocolate clusters which he would let us have when he was in a good mood. The store had a potbellied stove with rocking chairs around it. We would sometimes visit with his family. The store had an unusual feature. It was connected to his home and we could walk through a door and be right in his living room.
Another question asked me to write a story about my childhood bedroom. What an experience it was to travel down memory lane describing our feather beds, the register on the floor, and how my sister and I loved to play in that room. The chifforobe from our grandma’s house was like the one C. S. Lewis described in his children’s book, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
After a year of questions and my writing stories to describe my first big vacation or telling about an unusual camping trip or writing about my dad (who was a farmer with an eighth grade education) scrubbing in to help a surgeon perform a gallbladder operation on my grandfather on their kitchen table in 1917, an email arrived saying my year was up. I was able to finish or answer seventy questions. The project also invites you to add pictures.
It was now time to add photos to the stories, edit them, and for StoryWorth to publish a hard cover book and send it to me. My plan is to order enough books to give to my children and grandchildren.
StoryWorth has devised an excellent program. It helps a person to organize both their thoughts and their writing. I highly recommend this activity. It was useful for me and my husband. Some questions brought up some very difficult times in my life that needed sorting out. I chose to write some stories that were filled with life changing experiences.
The process helped me share some of my most valued beliefs. I recommend that any one eager to write about their life would benefit from being prodded to provide answers to questions that your children and grandchildren wished they had asked.
Contributed by: Rosemary Kleman Hume
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