Heirloom Memoir Writing

Heirloom Memoir Writing

By Inez Haythorn

I have always been fascinated by the lifestyles and traditions of the past, especially the eras of my mother and grandmother. Since my grandmother was born in 1892, and my mother in 1916, quite a span of history is covered by their lives.

By recording the stories and events of our ancestors' lives, we not only preserve memories, but it gives us a deeper sense of who we are. These happenings are so easily forgotten if we don't write them down. Heirloom memoir writing is a simple way to capture your family's past, or even your own. It's never too early to start. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.

1. Make a commitment to write a little every day. Set aside fifteen minutes for writing. Don't overwhelm yourself with too much. Enjoy it.

2. Decide on topics. Narrow them down. Be specific. I've written about laundry care in the 1920's, Depression quilts, country dinners of my great-grandparents, and old fashioned homemaking routines. I've told the story of my grandparents' travels to the country in their Velie, an old time car. Once you start thinking, more and more ideas will come to you. Write about what interests you about the past.

3. Talk to your parents, grandparents, and older relatives. Before you do, write out a list of questions you want to ask them, or points you wish to cover. Get their permission to tape record the conversation. This way you can go back and take notes at your own speed.

Don't worry about too much organization at this point. Just write down everything you can. Take thorough notes. Make sure your information is accurate.

4. Make an outline. Start organizing your information. Go down through your notes and place each fact under the appropriate topic. Remember, you're still jotting facts. Don't be concerned about complete sentences yet.

5. Create a rough draft. Now start turning your outline into an article or story. Each Roman numeral can be a paragraph. Turn the facts into complete sentences.

6. Write your final copy. Polish up your work. Use a spell-checker, thesaurus, or dictionary. Check grammar and punctuation. Make your words and sentences descriptive and interesting.

7. Publish your writing. After you have compiled a collection of stories and articles, it is time to publish them. This could be as sophisticated as using a real publisher, or simply typing them out and placing them in a scrapbook along with old pictures. Whichever direction you decide to go, there are many resources to help you out.

Remember, you are creating a priceless heirloom when you record family history stories. The time and effort you put into it now will not only give you information and enjoyment, but will be a rich heritage to leave to your children and grandchildren.

Copyright 2003 Inez Haythorn All Rights Reserved

About the Author

Inez Haythorn is a Christian wife, mother, elementary school teacher, pianist, and freelance writer. Her main writing interests are Christian writing, and writing about lifestyles and memoirs of the past. Her goal is to glorify and honor God, and bless and help others.


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