Tag Archives: memoirs

Memoirs On My Mind

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Memoirs On My Mind

On February 9th, 1977 I lost my best friend, my hero, my father. More than 43 years have gone by but in some ways it seems like yesterday.

I was so young when he died and there is so much more that I wish I knew about him. Although we were very close, because he left me so long ago, there are questions that have surfaced over the years as I have grown.

My dad never met his grandchildren. They came along years later. It’s sad that he missed out on the opportunity to be a grandparent. And it’s also sad that my children never had a loving grandfather in their lives.

One of my writing projects involves writing my memoirs for my granddaughter. Madeline is 2-1/2 now and it will be years until she will read and understand the significance of these stories. Yet it is important to me that this history be recorded. Indeed my own daughter is not aware of some of these memories.

I must admit that compiling these memories at times is overwhelming. How much information is too much information? And wow is some of it emotionally draining for someone who practices mindfulness on a daily basis to avoid unnecessary sadness and anxiety.

I had hoped to attend another memoir writing class this year while in Leavenworth. Due to Covid-19 there is no class. And as I continue to work on my memoirs, I wonder just how much Covid-19 will impact my writing. Only time will tell.

Penpals

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Penpals

June 30. I’m still in Mexico. Borders are still closed. Canada is still enforcing the Quarantine Act.

In another lifetime it was month end at work. It was the last day of school when I’d take my kids out for brunch after picking up their report cards. Another tradition was going to Chuck E Cheese later on in the day.

And then I moved to Mexico ten years ago to teach English. One of my first projects was setting the students up with penpals.

I’m actually still friends with my first penpal. I was living in Winnipeg and Carole lived in Minneapolis. We were 12 when we met. We have been friends for over five decades.

Today technology such as Face Time, Skype and Zoom have changed completely the concept of long distance relationships.

Today’s generation will never experience the thrill of rushing home from school to check the mailbox for a letter.

They will never have the opportunity to browse through stores in search of the perfect writing paper, envelopes and hasti-notes.

I also remember going to the post office in search of commemorative stamps rather than ordinary postage stamps. And the joys of sealing that envelope with wax!

Mail was only picked up at certain times. In the city there was next day delivery. International mail usually took 3 days.

I must admit that I now refer to email as snail mail with all the other options available. Here in Mexico the postal system is almost non-existent making FedEx a good friend.

But it’s nice to reminisce about the past as I compile more stories for Memoirs For Madeline. My granddaughter is only two and I wonder what communication will be like when she turns 12.

Happy Birthday To Me

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Happy Birthday To Me

May 23, 2020.

This will be an interesting addition to Memoirs For Madeline, a written compilation of memories to share with my granddaughter when she is older. Celebrating my birthday quarantined in a foreign country during a pandemic is not exactly what I had in mind for this year.

I envisioned a leisurely dinner with friends at Visconti’s in Leavenworth. I’m not sure what I’ll be having for dinner this year but it will be some kind of takeout and will be eaten in my room with the TV as company.

My birthday cake this year will probably be a pingüino, Mexico’s version of a Hostess cupcake. And yes it is chocolate, my favorite. Visions of cakes from Eiffel Tower, Jeannie’s and other pastelerías float through my head. Maybe someday again.

I have wonderful memories of celebrating other birthdays in the past in various places with family and friends. And I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays in the future with others. I actually wonder just where I will be next year at this time, as this nomad is just itching to be on the move again. I’ve been in Aguascalientes for seven months now, and in all likelihood I will be here for another two months. That’s the longest stretch I’ve stayed anywhere in years since I’ve retired. Even when I was teaching full-time I traveled on weekends and holidays. But not this year.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the culture and the beauty of this country.

Happy Birthday Karen!

Writing About Life

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Writing About Life

As a young child, I delighted in writing short poems and creating birthday cards with rhyming verses. I even continued to write throughout my teens. I began a novel but somewhere along the line the magic vanished. When depression and anxiety entered my life as an adult, I began to journal. Next came the publication of two self-help books. I then discovered the art of blogging. Unfortunately the journaling has fallen by the wayside at the moment, but a new course in writing memoirs has taken its place.

This week’s homework entails finding a childhood photo and sharing a memory. This has proven to be quite a difficult feat as all the family photo albums are back in Canada and I am not. While I do have countless photos of my own children stored on my Seagate, I have only a handful of myself. I think my appearance as well as taste in clothing has changed significantly over the years. The bonnet and dress have been replaced by jeans and t-shirts.

Van Kirk

Another writing challenge that has occupied my time recently is an article to be published in Scoop, the newsletter at the Leavenworth Senior Center. I submitted two articles last summer about my life in Mexico. The article I’m going to share in this post was co-written with my friend Karen. We are two of the instructors in the S.A.I.L. program here in town and highly encourage seniors to attend these fitness classes. We both recognize how the exercises have enhanced our health and well-being, and are eager to share this experience with others.

 

Here is the article:

                                      STAY ACTIVE AND INDEPENDENT FOR LIFE

                                                                (S.A.I.L)

The Senior Falls Prevention Study was undertaken in 2003-2005 by the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WSDOH recognized the need for a program and sponsored research in social marketing in 2005-2006 aimed at how best to motivate seniors to participate. Also in 2006 S.A.I.L. instructor training was developed and funding provided by the WSDOH. In 2007 the results of a study of the participants showed improved balance, mobility skills and leg strength, as well as a reduction in fear of falling. Further research continues to support these findings.

S.A.I.L. is a strength, balance and fitness program geared towards adults 65 years and older. The activities have been designed to help seniors to stay independent and active as well as to prevent falls.

S.A.I.L. is evidence based as participants are assessed regularly by experienced and skilled instructors trained by professionals associated with Wellness Place in Wenatchee.

Classes follow a format of warm up exercises, aerobics and activities that promote balance, strength and flexibility.

Due to the nature of the program, a doctor’s consent is required prior to enrollment. Please drop by to observe a class and obtain the necessary forms.

The one hour classes are free of charge and are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 am at First Baptist Church, 429 Evans Street, here in Leavenworth.

We hope you will join us soon!

 

 

And now it is time for me to put the finishing touches on my submission for my writing class. I will leave adulthood for the present and delve back into my childhood.