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  • Martha Rasche

The Payoff


A few weeks ago I met one of my Life Stories participants at a local printer and handed over a stick drive with her stories on it. The employee quickly went over the binding options with Betty, who is 82, and then printed and bound the first copy. As Betty leafed through the pages, I commented that it always feels like Christmas to me when one of my clients is able to hold her completed stories in her hands.

"My stomach is in my throat," Betty replied.

After nine months of hard work on her part, and some on mine, here was the payoff: her life stories printed and bound. Betty plans to give the stories to her children for Christmas.

In mid-November I got a text from a more tech-savvy client letting me know that she, too, had completed her stories and had printed copies ready to give as Christmas presents. I had done a few edits for her along the way but hadn't seen the final stories, so I told her I would love to read her book. She dropped a copy off for me, and a few days later I sat down and read it cover to cover in one sitting. When I told her that, she said: "When I first read it I didn't want to put it down — and I knew what it said!"

Tomorrow I head to the printer again, this time with the stories of an 81-year-old lifelong farmer in tow. He started putting his memories on paper a few years ago while in a nursing home for rehab. During my classes he added details and emotions to what he already had written. I am excited to see his reaction when he holds his 115-page book in his hands for the first time.

New Life Stories classes start in January. Those participants have no idea what they will accomplish — and how good it will make them feel.

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