A Visit to the Past

This week a cousin called and asked some questions about her mother, my mother’s only sibling. We talked a bit about what I remembered, and then I recalled that my mother had written her memoirs back around 1990. I thought that might have some information of interest to my cousin, but I wasn’t sure where I’d put the hardcopy or if I still had the file in a form that I could retrieve. (I have a box of hard disks, but no computer to read them.)

To my relief I did find the file on my laptop.

My mother wrote her memoir on a Mac, and several years ago I had my daughter convert the file to a WordPerfect file for a PC. Now I needed to convert the file from WordPerfect to Word, which, thank goodness wasn’t that difficult. But I did discover the file had a lot of typos and missing words. I’m not sure if that came about in the conversion process or if it was due to my mother’s age (fingers that didn’t always work well due to arthritis and a lack of familiarity with a computer).

For the last three days I’ve been going through the file (62k words) and making corrections. I’ve also been revisiting my mother’s and a part of my past, and it’s been fascinating.

Mom didn’t write her memoirs with the idea of getting the story published as a book. This was simply something she wanted to leave for her family, and now, fifteen years after her death, I’m so glad she did. As soon as I finish correcting the typos, I’ll send the file to my cousin. I know she’ll find the sections that mention her mother and our mutual grandparents, interesting. I also know, I’ll save the file for my granddaughters. Some day they may find it interesting. And I think I’ll send the file to my son. He’s older now, and a parent. I think he’ll enjoy several parts, especially the fact that my mother was in the hospital for two weeks after having me, and was charged $7.50 a day for the hospital room. (He knows what he had to pay the hospital for the two days his wife was in the hospital after having his daughter, and it was a lot more than $7.50 a day.)

Anyway, whenever people say they’re thinking of writing their memoirs, encourage them to do so. It’s interesting to revisit the past.

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5 Responses to A Visit to the Past

  1. Diane Burton says:

    Oh, Maris, what a treasure. A while back I blogged about finding letters my mom wrote to me when we lived several states apart. The letters brought back such wonderful memories. I agree that when people say they should write their memoirs we should definitely encourage them. You have a wonderful gift to share with your family. Through your mother’s memoir, she will come alive for her great-grandchildren. How marvelous!

  2. It’s wonderful that your mom was able to write down her memoirs and that you were able to retrieve them. I recall many things my mom told me, and I know I should write them down while I’m still able, but having them in your mom’s own words is very special.

  3. Enid says:

    I have letters that my mom and her mom wrote….nearly daily… for several years. Mom might start a letter on Monday and not mail it until Wed, but three entries would be there. I think my Grandmother saved more of them, but we have some Mom saved, too. They talk about prices of everyday items, the weather (of course), and people they knew. I took a “Writing your Life History” class here, a weekly one, for about one year. I listened to MANY wonderful memories of my classmates, and did not write nearly enough. My ramblings are not organized, but I did start to describe each house we lived in…. and took photos of the ones that are still around. My jobs (teacher and bridal consultant) have NOT been examined yet….