The following is taken from a memoir I have been working on in between my fiction projects, and in looking at this piece I realize how quickly we can forget those things that molded us into the people we are today. Perhaps capturing the memories is more important than we ever thought.
"One day when I was reminiscing about high school, I dug out my high school yearbooks – I won’t tell you how old they were, but it was a relief to find the pages didn't crumble. Anyway, my intent was just to look for a picture of someone I'd gone to school with, but I got caught up in a trip through my past.
"My kids were immediately interested in this chronicle of a part of my life that came before them, and they all wanted to see my senior picture. Obligingly, I leafed through the pages, but I couldn't find my picture. It wasn't there between the Ls and the Ns like it should have been. I couldn't understand it. I had my senior picture taken for Pete’s sake. Why wasn’t it there? Then my husband reminded me that my last name wasn't Miller then.
"How silly. I'd forgotten. But who could blame me? At that juncture in my life I'd been a Miller longer than I’d been a Van Gilder.
|I'm on the bottom, second from the left. My kids thought I was pretty, but the glasses were ugly.|
"I did remember participating in the Model United Nations at the University of Detroit. Who could ever forget the first time they stood up in front of 1,500 people and offered an opinion?
"It's so much easier doing it on paper.
"However, I'd forgotten I was a finalist for a National Merit Scholarship. (I left that page prominently displayed for my children who were of the combined opinion a mother's intelligence quotient is equivalent to that of an armadillo.)
"In spending that time with a part of my personal history, I found an odd dichotomy between what I remembered and what I didn't. On one hand, some of my memories were definite distortions of the past. Yet some of the memories, those that centered on incidents and people who influenced me greatly, were very true to the reality of then.
"Obviously, I was never meant to be a photographer. But I was meant to be the kind of person I've become, and in some ways that new person isn't so different from the person I was in high school. I'm still idealistic, almost to a fault. I still daydream. I'm still interested in people and social issues, wishing for a world with no injustice or evil. And I'm still on the "out" side more than I'm "in." But that's OK, because it's by choice, and I enjoy the view so much better from out here."
Are you interested in writing a memoir? Have you ever sat down with siblings and shared memories of the past, only to discover that you all remember the same incident a bit differently? Do you think it is important to capture these memories, even if we don't intend to write a complete memoir?
|Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent book releases are Doubletake and Boxes For Beds, both mysteries that are available for Kindle and in paper. Stalking Season is the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series, also now available as an e-book, along with Open Season, the first book in the Season's Series. To check out her editing rates visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. She believes in the value of memories and connecting with your past.|