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  • Martha Rasche

Missing "some school"


After a handful of weekly sessions with half-a-dozen women (most are in their 80s; one is in her mid-90s) whom I am helping to write their life stories, they are coming to understand that although we have many shared experiences, others are truly unique. All are worth getting down on paper.

When I asked the women if they had been in any accidents or had any illnesses in their youth that required an emergency doctor or hospital visit, two of the women said they had. One said she had had rheumatic fever. With some prodding, I learned that the illness had temporarily paralyzed her and she had to learn to walk again. I encouraged her to write about that.

The other woman said that she had missed "some school" in the elementary grades. Again, I asked a few questions — and learned that she had missed THREE YEARS of school! A bone infection caused her to be in a body cast for three years, which she spent lying on a bed or on a pallet on the floor. She's been writing strong on that topic for several weeks now. Last I checked, she was starting to write about the time that her father let a raccoon into the house because he thought it would be good entertainment for her...

#writing

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