Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I don't suggest everyone  follow my lead and write their life's experiences, but when you think of the history that will be unknown by many of your family members  generations to come, I wonder if you wouldn't get the fire started underneath you.

I'm teaching the second part of a two-part series of "Mining Your Memories --Writing Life's Experinces." It is a free course held once a month for four months and is divided into two parts: birth through elementary school and middle/junior high to young adulthood.

Because I am a self-starter, I have been writing various stories of happenings in my life thoughout the last 15 years. I realized early that some people need to be pushed. They need reason and a prod of their memory banks. I always thought of my brain as being like the post office boxes from the rear: series of slots where adventures, experences, important dates and such were slips of paper lying inside the slots. When the slots got full that part of the brain shut down until another slot opened up. In class I direct the adults to think by giving them situations or key words that put themselves into a time frame when they can remember a place and activity.

So with the support of a local library I set up free classes and have had good results.

For example, when we entered seventh grade, we signed Valentine cards with trite sayings we haven't used since that time: "Be mine to the end of time,""You are my sunshine." We began with everyone writing their own obituaries. Yes, I emphasized  a good obituary is self-written and should be an historic account of themselves. In elementary school we drew a houseplan where we lived at that time. That alone prompted many stories from the class. One student called his "My House of Memories".

There are lots of books one can follow, but sometimes sitting and reading the hundreds of questions printed one after the other becomes daunting. We discuss the time period, putting ourselves into elementary. junior high and high schools by describing what the buildings looked, where one's classes were located, who the teachers were, favorite classes, etc. We remember polio shots, favorite music, how we dressed, the way guys wore their hair, and the like. Remembering is the best way to appreciate the past.

We are in a small way contributing to the mass history of the 1930s through the 1970s. You may not ever read these accounts, but hundreds of family members will.

I felt comfortable about starting this class and sure enough in the middle of an hour someone will speak up and say, "I can't believe I can remember this." I hand out personal essays of friends who've captured that time and period, thus giving the class an opening that allows them to remember.

This is fun for me and for them. At the same time at home I'm typing as fast as possible to write the same assignment. From the accounts we write we'll find nuggets of stories we can expand on and create funny incidents to captivate their grandchildren, neices, and nephews. Learning to tell the story is just as important as writing them.

Eventually a small group will continue to write and our goal is to see that everyone prints up his own life's stories in a manner they can distribute and leave as a legacy.


I'm on a new diet. It's diet or nearly die. Nearly die means weeks and weeks of honest-to-goodness illness that is Not death-defying, but it feels like it. Part of my new diet is the ugly concoction at left. 

Can you guess what it is? I have it three times a week. Egg whites with either cheese or turkey sausage and  added Spirulina, the green ugly stuff.

Dr. Seuss must have been eating spirulina when he wrote the successful Green Eggs and Ham. Since this has been added to my diet I have discovered that the book is listed as No. 1 on the Book List of Wall St. Journal.  

The above illustrates how the egg begins in the skillet. When it is cooked it looks a bit better:

I must admit I closed my eyes eating this the first time, but as each breakfast arrived, I found myself adjusting to reading the newspaper and looking only occasionally to be sure my fork had a good helping attached.  I couldn't complete the Seuss meal with ham, since that is off my list of OK Foods. And ham has always been my favorite. 

Feeling the need to quote part of Dr. Seuss' famous poem, I have to resist due to restrictions. But for all of you who read it to your child or had it read to you, you know he made the dish sound delish!