Monday, October 5, 2009

Personal History

Toddler


Kid


Missionary


Vagabond


Groom


Graduate


Dad


Developer


Historian


Opa


Traveler


Hero.

♫ Happy Birthday to Dee . . .
He made it to 63! ♫

In a dozen words, this is Dee's history. His-story. Winston Churchill said, "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." Are you writing yours?

"It started for me, as it does for most girls, with one of those red leatherette five-year diaries, bolted shut by a diminutive brass lock whose ineffectual key I hid elaborately in my bedroom. A journal not only required secrecy—it was secrecy. Solitude implied scribbling. My soul poured forth. My brother, idly curious, didn't even bother to search for the little key, he coolly sprang the lock with a bent paper clip, and laughed himself silly. My first reader." —Patricia Hampl

I have a friend whose mom died when she was just a little girl. Her dad remarried, and all evidence of the mom was tucked away. My friend grew up not knowing anything about her mom, sensing she shouldn't ask questions that might hurt her loving stepmother's feelings. When each of her own children were born, she wrote a letter that very day, telling of her love for the baby. She said, "I'm not going to die on my kids and have them wonder if I loved them for the rest of their lives."

Another friend's mom was self-conscious about having her picture taken. She died at an early age, and my friend didn't have any photos of herself with her mom.

My mother-in-law was very ill from the time I met her. I didn't really get to know her at all before she died. I would love to have a journal or scrapbook with stories about Dee's childhood.

Gordon B. Hinckley said, "You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some of them may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experience."

This last week we had a brush with death. It reminded me that, whether I like the idea or not, I'm going to die some day. What if I just turn into a couple of dates and a name? What if people remember me wrong, or don't remember me at all? If I want history to be kind to me, I better write it!



Homework: Do any or all or be inspired.

~Write an outline of your life using only a dozen words. Go back and turn each word into a paragraph.

~There are many techniques to record your life: scrapbooks, journals, collage, storytelling, etc. Make a list of 5-10 ways you have documented a part of your history.

~Oscar Wilde said, "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about." Write an imaginary conversation between two of your friends as they talk about you. Prompt: "I don't want to sound gossipy, but did you hear about______?" (Make sure they tell the truth.)

Write away!



P.S. Thanks so much for all the sweet emails, kind comments, and prayerful thoughts this past week. Dee came home from the hospital Friday and is doing very well. He's on oxygen for the next couple of weeks, and his new stents seem to be giving him new energy. Saturday he conducted an interview and even went to his office for a little while! Tonight he went to his birthday party, and if it weren't for his oxygen tank, he'd have blown out 63 candles!

19 comments:

crissy said...

Welcome back!

Christie said...

I am so glad he's doing so well! What a scare.

gab said...

I don't think you'll ever be just a name or date.

Give Opa a big birthday hug from us!

marta said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OPA!!! we love you.

polly said...

Happy Birthday Dee! Loved the pictures, mostly the outfit when you graduated! I remember that outfit, and loved it.

diane said...

I hope you have a perfectly boring week. Sometimes boring is the best.

I love the 12 word challenge. This is something I can do. I'm not a writer but 12 words doesn't seem so daunting.

hannah :: sherbet blossom said...

Happy Birthday to your husband!

I did the assignment. I can't believe that I haven't missed one! (How could I? Such fun and wonderful assignments...)

crissy said...

I did my homework.

Also, I forgot to say in my earlier comment:
Happy Birthday to Dee!

kenju said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEE!!!

~Kristina said...

Happy Birthday Dee!
Glad you're back Oma!
Here's my homework:
http://tinastree.blogspot.com/2009/10/write-away-seminar-personal-history.html

Allison said...

Good to have you back and so glad that everything's okay!!

link

Tiffany said...

So glad you are back and celebrating a birthday with your husband! In his honor, I actually completed my homework today.

Here's my homework.

Beck said...

Okay, I know I haven't been participating for a while, but I wanted to let you know that I finally took a book off of my list of books that I tried to read: I started and finished "To Kill a Mockingbird" today and LOVED it. Just thought I'd say thanks for the motivation to pick it up and try one more time.

crissy said...

You are wonderful and so kind! Thanks for saying so many nice things about me and my writing. It really means a lot. :)

audrey said...

Oops! I forgot to post a comment with the link to my blog post last night when I wrote.

Here.

Mrs. Organic said...

I'm glad to hear he's feeling better. Those pesky oxygen tanks can get in the way sometimes.

This was hard so I took the easy way out, but it's done!

dalene said...

done. thanks--

Katie H said...

This was a great, thought-provoking exercise. Thanks for letting me do these late. :)

http://jarednkatie.blogspot.com/2009/10/brief-personal-history.html

Hope all is well!

~j. said...

I enjoyed writing this so much...maybe because it fed my narcissism.