My mother didn’t leave much in the way of money or treasures ~ ~ she was like one of those old contests, where you had to be present to win. But she did leave behind a priceless legacy in the series of e-mails sent to an ever-increasing dist list of friends & loved ones.
Her bequest – Mindwalker1910, written from February 2000 to September 2001 – wasn’t planned. Originally, she was just connecting with two online discussions on dear-to-her-heart church matters. As their questions & comments came in, she slowly awoke to the fact she had things that only she could say, memories only she could share, with people who wanted – longed – to hear them.
My brothers & sister were not on her dist list. They were not happy with what she was doing. One brother told her that at 90 it was natural for her to want to meander through past years, but no one was interested – if she wanted to share such memories, she should limit them to the family & not others who were too polite to say they were boring.
Instead of getting in a huff or – worse – taking Mike’s suggestion to heart, Mom put it out to her readers ~ ~ just let her know to take them off his distribution list & she (I) would make it so. The deluge of responses begging her to NEVER strike them from her list, telling her how much her reminiscences, her comments & commentaries meant to them.
It is to weep that I’ve never been able to rouse older friends to do write down their family stories, going back to their little kid days, their impressions of past & current events, their hopes & dreams from days gone by & what stretches out ahead.
Praise be for an article on NextAvenue.org about a memoir by JEAN OLIVER LAWLER, ultimately a self-published book for her 12 grandchildren. YES! For years, I’ve tried – without success – to get older friends to write their own memoirs, only to be told, “My children don’t care.” Thanks to Mike & Peter & Mim, I can lean in & agree, adding, “But your grandchildren will!”
Where I failed to get olders elders ancients to share their lives, thoughts, experiences, am hoping Making a Memoir a Reality helps set their sense of the possible roiling.
Jean Oliver Lawler was triply blessed ~ ~ she was open to sharing her life stories, had a friend who encouraged & helped, and offspring with great writing chops.
When her efforts stalled, the article’s author – her writer/editor son, Edmund – lent his loving support. Perhaps best of all, she had a granddaughter who shared her uncle’s writing & editing gifts, coached & critiqued her grandmother & kept begging for more.
My own experiences with Mom, who dictated as I transcribed her unintended memoirs, tells me that her son & granddaughter will always hold dear in their hearts the time spent helping their mother/grand put stories to paper & print. Heartfelt thanks to Lorraine & Edmund & Moira and above all to Jean transforming memories into memoir. May many more be inspired & do the same!