Screaming and Splashing
Mommy, come quick,” I shouted from the porch. “It’s open now! Mommy, Donny’s opened the hydrant! He did it again.”
I was barefoot on the front porch of our third-story flat, bibbed seersucker sunsuit over my naked chest, my blonde curls wet from perspiration that dripped onto my shoulders. The afternoon was more than sultry. It was a steam bath. Nearby, Nana drank water with a pinch of salt.
“Come and put on your bathing suit,” Mommy called out to me.
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Be a Memoir Writer Now
The most valuable gift you can give your loved ones and future generations is the story of your life. Become a memoir writer. No one else can imbue your children and grandchildren with a sense of their family history than you, whose childhood blossomed in an era that would otherwise be forgotten.
In my experience as a long-time educator I discovered that children with a strong sense of family distinctiveness performed better in school than … Read More
Can You Truly Remember All the Details?
If you’ve been hesitating to write your life stories for future generations, one impediment might be a concern that you can’t remember exact details for your memoir. I doubt any of us can recall enough details about the past to create a compelling read. Adding to this uncertainty, your friends and family may have different recollections about the same incident. Let’s examine these two dilemmas.
Siblings Disagree About Memoir Details
My brother read one of my stories about a summer day in Paterson, NJ when a teenager turned on the fire hydrant … Read More
What Family Secrets Lurk in Your Closet?
We all have skeletons in our closets, but how many family secrets should our stories expose? Some are trivial secrets about family members and friends. They have little valance at this point in our lives, yet others have more consequence and might affect people who are living today. An example could be a child born “out of wedlock” generations ago. A divorce or family feud might linger in your memory. An old injury inflicted by a family member might fester and beg to be told.
Students in my memoir classes ask if they should include family secrets in their … Read More
How to portray emotions in memoir is a writer’s challenge, and the most difficult avenue for me is through the character’s inner sensations. That’s why I often pause to reflect and take note of my inner self, especially when I’m walking alone.
Today while taking my morning hike, I sat on a bench and gazed up at an exquisite oak tree, its branches entwined with designs of negative space with the clear blue sky behind it. I thought about forests and then running through … Read More
Becoming June Cleaver, A 1950s Education
from Remembering Childhood: An Interactive Memoir
Why can’t I play with the blocks? I liked my dolls, but I’d wanted other options from as early as I can remember. In kindergarten, girls played “school,” “nurse,” or “dolls,” while the boys got to play with wooden blocks, fire engines, and toy trucks. I’d peek over the half wall that separated the boys’ and girls’ play areas to watch intense little guys build blocks and noisy guys imitate fire engine sounds, but another girl, or worse yet, the teacher, would coax me back to my place.
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