~This was written nearly a month ago and has been sitting collecting dust in my “drafts” file. When I re-read it, I wondered why in the world it had never been posted. Which lead to absolutely no answer… so here goes!
Mom is writing a brief story of my life. Why? Because,
we are absolutely insane and this is what insane families really do I asked her to.
I wanted to start writing privately again, as well as doing this. I hope that this project doesn’t damper my online writing…. But, what I want to write privately is, basically, the story of my life.
I want to write the story of my life in diary form. With real feelings, real emotions, real struggles and triumphs. In hopes, that one day, like a diary, my children or grandchildren or great grandchildren will come across it in a box of old memories, and have in their possession, the story of my life. Literally.
Okay, maybe the insane reasoning was more accurate.
Wouldn’t that be neat though? Do you have grandparents, great grandparents even, that you would love to know about their life? Not just about their life, but first hand, from them, about what they lived through!
Fortunately, I have relatives like this. Relatives that have lived through the Great Depression, Hitler, World War I, the amazing adventure of moving from Ireland to the USA. Unfortunately, I have no ‘Story of their Life’ diary book to read about it from. And, they’re no longer here to simply ask.
A few months ago my husband, our two children whom still live at home, and myself, traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Off of that is an Island that my husbands grandmother was raised on. We traveled to this island. It was fantastic! We had to cross on a ferry that could only carry 6 cars at a time. There were absolutely no roads to or from the island. To top that off, there was not one single store on the island. The closest “town” was nearly an hour away once you got to the mainland.
We stayed at a small campground resort there. We were attacked my mosquitoes. Hardly got any sleep. And, couldn’t locate a single local at a nearby store (because there wasn’t a store as we found out, eventually) to narrow down exactly where his grandmothers farm land was. But, we sure did rehash the stories of her childhood to our kids!
She could stand on her property and watch the Canadians as though they were across the street. During the winter, the snow became so deep that she would have to tie a rope between the house and the barn so that no one would get lost when taking care of the animals. As we drove around the island aimlessly trying to find this exact property, we could picture how truly different her childhood had been from ours.
There wasn’t even cell phone service! Not that they had cell phones back then, but you understand the level of boondocks we were really in. It was quite the experience to “re-live”.
But, it still wasn’t the same. Seeing it. Hearing about it, in the little bit that we could remember from stories my husbands mother had told. It just wasn’t the same as if we had a book, a ‘Story of My Life’ book to reveal the true depth of her life, from HER. We wanted to know more, so much more! But, she isn’t here to ask.
I’m assuming back while she was experiencing it, my husbands grandmother didn’t really think her life was all that worth writing about. Much the same as I feel about my own life at the moment. But, quite possibly, some day, one of my later generations will find it interesting. But, that’s only if I leave them something to find at all.
Besides all that potential coolness a ‘Story of my Life’ book holds, there is also something else such a thing would contain. Sometimes, it’s hard for children to really believe that their parents, let alone their grandparents, have actually been there before. It’s just not the same. They don’t understand. Things are different now than back in the day. Those of us that are entering into the brinks of hearing those lines from our own children’s mouths, begin to see that things really aren’t that different.
Diary writing is writing from the heart. Letting your fears and hopes show. Revealing the depth of what you are going through. Sometimes, people really need that. They need to hear that they are not absolutely bat shit crazy for wanting to curl up in a ball and cry because it seems like everything is going wrong. They need more than simply to hear that there is life after high school, they need proof! What better gift can you really give someone than an in depth look at all you have been through, and most of all, that you made it through better than you started.
So, I think, as nutty as it sounds, that writing a ‘Book of my Life’ is an absolutely awesome idea. So, why is my mom writing it? She’s not, really. I have a little problem with my memories. Well, I guess you could consider it a big problem. There were some really bad times in my childhood. I think, because of this, I blocked a lot of stuff out. I remember bits and pieces of being a kid. Flashes of a time and a place, an event of significance.
Lately, we’ve been a little less financially well off than we’d like. Due to this, we have had to switch over to cheap coffee creamer. I know, rough times, starving children in Ethiopia would be heartbroken over my poverty. (I kid, I kid. Those beautiful kiddos have REAL problems. Problems that make us sound like we’re crying over a broken nail.) But, to the point, this cheap coffee creamer is in a plain red and beige container. The packaging, the smell, the consistency, the taste in my morning coffee, all quickly transport me back to a very young age. An age that I use to visit my Pop-pops (grandfather) brother. It was a pretty shabby place. Always dark and kind of dirty. He always had that creamer sitting there at the table near him.
Come to find out, this is my great uncle. I haven’t seen him since I was just a young pup. This house, was my great grandmothers house. Grandma with all the cats as I recall being told. Funny, I don’t remember hundreds of cats. But, I remember that cheap container of coffee creamer.
Things like that are why I need my moms help. I remember things. Flashes of things. Times. Events. Places. Feelings. But, I don’t remember my exact age. I don’t remember exactly where the place I am remembering was. I don’t remember specifics that very well could be very important to whomever happens across this book in generations to come.
After all, all those amazing stories of my husbands grandmother being raised on this island we visited does little good without knowing where the dang nabbing property was!
Mom called today to run by the first few pages of what she had written. It is amazing! I was told all of these stories before (seeing as it is my life and all) and I was still sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what happened next! I can’t wait for her to finish! And, with her permission, I certainly plan on sharing some of it with all of you.
I guess, my posts are kind of supposed to have a point. That has sort of been the theme I’ve had going. Hmm… I guess, it just surprised me how interested I was in reading/listening to my mom’s story about my story. How much it really impacted me, and how she doesn’t even have a clue the things that stand out to me. She can’t know. Just as I won’t know what parts of my story will hold great significance to the one whom happens upon it in the future.
For instance, I’ll share one brief part of Mom’s story. (Shhh! Don’t tell!) Re-phrasing, she mentioned that the doctor told her to expect me on July 4th. She was quite surprised, to say the least, that I didn’t arrive until September. I’ve known that Mom expected me a month earlier than I actually came. I think this every time I remember how awful it was being in the third trimester of pregnancy until August, twice. But, I never once heard the exact date I was expected to arrive, simply the date I actually did arrive.
Now, this may seem like not that big of a deal. But, just wait…. When my husband asked me to marry him it came with the invitation to pick any date I wanted. There are 365 choices there. Thankfully it wasn’t leap year! Oh the decisions! But, I remembered years before reading an article about the oldest, longest married couple, in the world. They had been married on July 4th. I thought, what a beautiful, original day to get married. It already was one of my favorite days of the summer. Cookouts. Fireworks. What’s not to love? So, I picked the 4th of July as my wedding day. I didn’t just pick it. I obsessed over that date. I didn’t care what year we got married. I didn’t care where we got married. I didn’t even care if I ended up having a dress to get married in. As long as we got married on that date. Until a few hours ago, I had no idea that the date was the day I was expected to enter this world some 27 years before I got married.
Maybe it’s just a silly coincidence. I’m sure Mom thought nothing of it as the words of her story drifted through the telephone lines. But, it stuck out to me. It was like, wow. No, it was like, WOW! That’s what ‘Story of my Life’ books do. You never know what little piece of history will be so valuable to someone else.
Which naturally brings me to ask, what pieces of your life might be valuable to your future generations? What would you say in your ‘Story of my Life’ book? And, why aren’t you writing one already?!
Come on, if we all do it… I won’t look so crazy! (Insert big cheesy smile here)