A Storied Life
With a glint in her eye and a giggle in her voice, my 93-year-old Mom began: “Well, when I was four or five years old, we lived in Cynthiana. I walked into our garage, which was behind the house. I began to look around inside the garage and saw a can of paint there; it was a beautiful shade of blue. The can was open, and the brush had been left inside. About that time, little Blacky Taylor – the black and white dog from next door – wandered through the yard and into the garage. I mean, what would YOU do? There was a can of paint, a brush, and a cute little dog just begging to be painted. I will say, he looked really pretty as a blue dog. Little Blacky Taylor was now little Bluey Taylor. I thought he looked beautiful, but the neighbors were not happy about it at all. “
For Christmas this year, our nephew/niece gave my mother the gift of telling her story throughout the year; it will be bound into a book upon completion. Every week, my sister and I take turns chatting with Mom about the answer to her newest question. We have covered topics like childhood memories during World War II, attending school in the teacher’s home, and what it was like to wear cotton stockings with suspenders. We have laughed about my great aunt accepting a challenge to see who could look farthest down the outhouse hole; eventually falling in. We have cried about what it felt like when Mom went to visit her Daddy in the hospital during college, only to find that he had passed away just before she entered the room.
Both my sister and I have been so moved by her stories. We have been given a glimpse into parts of her life that we had never learned before. How she met our dad. How it felt to be both a minister’s daughter and a minister’s wife. We have learned about Mom’s childhood homes, vacations past, and honored traditions. We have been inspired by our grandmother and her sisters; each one sacrificing to put the next one through college until all of them had graduated. We heard how Mom’s favorite junior high teacher went overseas to Germany with the Red Cross during the war and wrote letters to tell Mom what it was like to be there.
There are several different companies that offer the service of storytelling and creating an actual book; the one we are using is Storyworth. The company gives you the opportunity to choose questions from a list, or you can generate your own. You can add photos or comments to each page and edit as needed.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much these discussions have meant to all of us. And how much they will mean to our family when the book is complete.
There is no price that you can put on having a permanent copy of someone’s story. I would like to encourage each of you to sit down with a loved one and ask them questions about their lives. There are so many ways to save their memories: videos, writing/typing them, or simply voice-recording. There are a multitude of websites with wonderful thought-provoking questions to ask. I would also like to encourage you to tell your own story and share that legacy with generations to come. Think of all the important life lessons you have learned throughout the years; sharing those will enrich the lives of those around you.
Listed below are some links to websites that will help direct your questions as you tell your story in a way that only YOU can. You can choose not to spend any money; or invest enough to have it bound. Either way, you are leaving an intimate piece of your incredible story for future generations to share.
(Note: I do not benefit from any person clicking on the links or purchasing Storyworth; this is not a sponsored post😊)
Links to websites with questions to ponder: