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  • Martha Rasche

Shared Experiences Lead to Shared Stories


This past Saturday I ran into a client whose life stories I completed writing early last year. Bernice, who became a widow during the time we worked together and included a chapter in her book about that adjustment, had dozens of copies of her stories made at the local print shop. That was enough to give to her children, grandchildren and siblings and have a few copies remaining. She no longer has a single copy for herself! Furthermore, one of her sisters asked if the book is copyrighted. No. The sister intends to have 35 copies printed to share with her own children and grandchildren.

On Sunday I ran into another client, Don. He, too, has run out of copies from the “first printing” of his stories. After distributing copies to his children and grandchildren, he had a few copies left to loan out to extended family members and friends. Not all of the borrowed copies have made their way back to him.

All of Bernice’s and Don’s stories are plenty interesting. But in both of these cases I suspect it is the stories they told about childhood, the stories that reveal family history and a way of life shared by their siblings, cousins and neighbors, that have made the books popular with others. I am sure Bernice’s and Don’s extended family members saw their own stories reflected in Bernice’s and Don’s — and that commonality made the books something to hold onto.

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