Thursday, June 11, 2015

Write on! It's the right thing to do for your family

Everyone needs to write.Not everyone will be the next famous writer. Not everyone will pass high school English but for your family's sake, you need to write.
It's important you tell your family, your children your grandchildren, about your life. It's important to them. If you don't want to write, try dictating stories that you remember into a recorder. Most cell phones have the ability to record sound and if you have a phone you don't mind talking into it, do you?
Today I visited in the home of a 90-year-old lady who recently made a very generous donation to a local non-profit group.
During the course of the interview (which I recorded, by the way) she told me she "can't write" but she is jotting down her memories for her grandchildren.
She retrieved a big plastic bag filled with various sizes of paper on which she had written many things that have happened over the years.
She plans to have her daughter type the information into a computer to save it for posterity.
What a wonderful idea!
Young reporters sometimes complain they don't have anything to write about.
"Close your eyes and open a phone book to any page," I tell them. "Put your finger down on the page and call that number."
If someone answers and will talk, I promise they will have at least one interesting, entertaining story to tell. Everyone has a story!
The lady's husband wrote a series of letters for his grandson, talking about how much different the boy's life will be from the grandfather who grew up during the Depression.
There was another gentleman in the room while I interviewed the lady. They were not related.
He told me he learned his father was adopted as a child. His mother could not afford to keep both he and his sister so she agreed to pay a family friend a small amount of money each year until she got back on her feet financially. It never happened and the boy eventually changed his name.
What a great story! I hope he records it in some form for his children and grandchildren.
While I was in the lady's home I tried to remember why her deceased husband was so familiar to me.
"You wrote about him when he died" she said. "You put his story on the front page of the newspaper."
I try to write about all the prominent people at their passing so that was no surprise.
"I have that front page ganging on the wall of my study," she said.
I was dumbfounded!
Then she led us down the hall to a bedroom converted into a study.
There, hanging on the wall, laminated to preserve it was the front page from a 2005 edition of our local paper.
It had been hanging there 10 years and I had no idea.
"You're a good writer," she said.
Relatively speaking, maybe.
It was the subject and the story that made her hang the front page of our paper on her wall.
Not long ago I found a letter my mom wrote her dad when I was first learning to set up. I couldn't talk but I laughed at everything my dad's mother said, mom wrote.
Just like my son!
I gave the letter to our son and he later texted me about it. I'm sure he appreciated that little bit of family history.
You don't have to be"a good writer. The fact that you are writing about family will be enough to make it special.