September 16, 2019

            One of my first Life Stories clients, Mary, died last month. She was 94.

            Her father had been a sharecropper in Kentucky, and soon after I met Mary she recited with dizzying speed the names of the communities where she liv...

July 23, 2019

     Alice and Edwin participated in my most recent Life Stories class.

     Alice had a career as a beautician. In her beauty shop, she had a Coke machine; a soda cost 10 cents. As she planned her wedding in 1967, she saved the dimes from the machine to buy h...

May 24, 2019

   

    Six weeks before Judy was born, her father died in a car accident. So Judy and her mother moved in with her mother’s parents, Judy’s grandparents. Grandpa was the sheriff, and their home was the official sheriff’s residence. One of Judy’s household chores g...

April 12, 2019

     His days of making and flying kites with the neighborhood boys took place more than 70 years ago, but to hear Paul describe it during a group “Remember When…” discussion at a local nursing home last week, he could have been talking about yesterday.

     L...

March 31, 2019

"Children rarely want to know who their parents were before they were parents, and when age finally stirs their curiosity there is no parent left to tell them." — Russell Baker, "Growing Up"

February 19, 2019

   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 lo...

January 28, 2019

   Mary was 7 when her mother died. Don was 8 when his died. Wilma was 12. Katharine was 17 when her mom died of lung cancer and leukemia and immediately she became the surrogate parent of her four younger siblings.

   The deaths of their mothers and how it affecte...

December 2, 2018

   Lou died last week. I am still in disbelief.

   After I wrote about her in a blog on Oct. 16 and linked it to my Facebook page, she commented: “Thanks for the story.” Her real name was Pat. She died at age 78 on the eve of Thanksgiving.

    I will be fo...

October 16, 2018

   In February, a woman from a neighboring town learned about my Life Stories classes and immediately expressed a strong interest in taking my next class. I was in the middle of two eight-week sessions at the time and didn’t know when I’d offer the next one.

   Som...

August 21, 2018

   I am gearing up for fall Life Stories classes. This means I have times and locations set, and now I go through my list of prospective participants and start calling them to fill the seats.

   Yesterday I spoke with an 82-year-old man who lives in the same house...

July 26, 2018

“Your heartache is someone else’s hope. If you make it through, somebody else is going to make it through. Tell your story.” — Kim McManus

June 26, 2018

   In early spring I committed to working on writing the life stories of an 89-year-old Indianapolis man.    His relatives who were hiring me to do the work considered various ways to make it happen — including my making the 6-hour round trip to his home several times...

April 9, 2018

     My “Remember When…?” discussion group at a local nursing home wanted to talk about moonshine last month. Bootlegging in the middle of the last century also has been the topic of compelling conversation in some of my Life Stories classes.

     Knowing that...

January 8, 2018

 “Like a friend said, it feels like a library burns down every time an elder dies.” — Jim Northrup, “Anishinaabe Syndicated”

December 10, 2017

   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 th...

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