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memoir or autobiographical fiction

Which Voice Will Write Your Memoir?

Choose A Voice To Write From Choosing a voice is imperative. This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. In fact, it is a very serious question that will determine-or at least greatly influence-the tone and the theme of your narrative. “But, I’m writing my memoirs!” you might answer. Yes, of course. It’s you! […]

MarthaGW

Memoir Leads to Exploring the Past

Writing a memoir is like opening a window into your life. It can also help clear the fog on windows of the past. Writing my own story in my memoir Nothing Like Normal (to be published by Black Opal Press November 14) caused me to wonder about the tales of my parents and ancestors and […]

childhood memories

Childhood Memories: The Price of Happiness

In 1953, we left our one-bedroom basement apartment on 7th Street in Toronto to live in the small town of Tottenham, Ontario. We moved into a three-bedroom flat above a hardware store. There was no central heat or hot water, but I thought it was a palace, compared to the tiny apartment we had left. The centre of activity was the huge kitchen, where a massive Finlay wood stove kept us warm in the winter months. Pale green cabinets sprawled along the opposite wall. They came to an end at the four-burner Frigidaire range. Every week, my mother would get down on her hands and knees and apply a coat of Johnson’s paste wax onto the green-and-white checkered linoleum floor. When we arrived home from school, my brother Stephen and I would delight in wrapping old rags on our feet and “skate” all over the floor, bringing it to a glossy sheen. This was my mother’s Tom Sawyer act, and it worked every time. I have fond childhood memories of this time. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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My Mother, Yvonne Lessard

The Story of Why My Parents Came Down

While my parents were immigrants to the US, they had not really come to be immigrants. My father’s health had been affected by the tiny, deadly filaments called asbestos dust in his hometown…

grandmother story

A Grandmother Story: Nothing Broken

In this grandmother story, I look back on the life of my mother’s mother.

“Look at this,” my grandmother said. “Not a tooth broken.”

We kids looked at the comb. We were not impressed. This grandmother story had to offer more!

“I made this when I was 8 years old.”

I looked again. Now I was impressed. I was 8 years old, and I had no idea how to make a comb. This one was big, maybe eight inches long, thick and creamy white. Indeed, not a tooth was broken. It looked nothing like the flimsy black plastic one my father carried in his pocket. My grandmother kept this one in the top drawer of her dresser with her small assortment of jewelry. This grandmother story impressed me for sure. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Depression story

My Grandmother’s Depression Story

The usual person gets four natural grandparents. Naturally, I got five. Or six. And for this Depression story, they were all in one body.

Both of my father’s parents passed away before I was born, victims of his absence during World War II as he fought the Germans on their own soil. My mother’s father died when I was six months old, a coincidence I believe, or so I have been told. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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writing family memories

Writing Family Memories: The Quintessential Grandma

When writing family memories, my thinking goes to food and to my Noni Arata.

Basil is just an ordinary herb, but whenever I smell it, wherever I might be, I think of Noni. I also picture her in her sunlit, shiny clean kitchen, perhaps with a pot roast and gravy bubbling on the stove and raviolis boiling away next to it. She didn’t always make pesto (hence the basil), however, for some reason the scent of fresh basil is synonymous with Noni for me.

Noni was born on October 12, 1899, to Italian immigrants who had made the journey from Liguria, Italy, to San Francisco, California.  When I was old enough to remember her, long before I ever thought of writing family memories, she lived alone in Redwood City, just thirty minutes south of San Francisco.  She is the grandmother I knew the best, since she lived the closest to us.  She was a happy-go-lucky lady, always smiling and laughing. In writing family memories, I don’t remember her sad or depressed, unless the occasion warranted that. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Memories of Childhood in memoir

Sunday School Money

It just wasn’t fair! Everyone else at Sunday School had something to spend at the corner dairy afterwards and would saunter home licking a delicious ice-cream or chocolate chew bar. We Thomsons weren’t allowed to buy sweet things…