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  • Martha Rasche

Generation to Generation


We're halfway through this round of Life Stories classes.

On Day 1, a 72-year-old father of two said his children didn't know much about him. "Not that they couldn't; they just don't," he said.

A 68-year-old mother of four said her husband told her, "Your kids don't really know you."

At another location, a 75-year-old mother of four said, "I never really did talk to my children about my life. They know very little."

It's four weeks later, and the 72-year-old man has found out from his older sister how their parents met and he has looked up his father's World War I military records.

The 68-year-old woman is spending time with letters her grandmother wrote to her mother a half-century ago and has put her hands on more than a dozen years of her mother's personal journals.

It seems that as these seniors are putting effort into writing their life stories for their children, they want to learn more about where they came from as well.

Today a woman shared that high school was a difficult time in her life. "I thought I would always be the tallest person in the world," she said, noting that as an adolescent she already was taller than her parents and most of her teachers. Another woman in the class, who had her own set of self-esteem issues as a teenager, commented, "This is good for me. I always wondered if it was just me (who felt awkward)."

I already know their descendants of a certain age will thank them for writing about the challenges they faced growing up. Through the openness in their writing, these women are holding out their loving arms to future adolescents in their families, letting them know that their problems are not unique and they are not alone.

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