Category Archives: Tips

Air Mail Delivery!

Who doesn’t like to receive mail? In 2016 most of our communication consists of text messages, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, Twitter tweets, and email. (These will likely become a “thing of the past” within no time, replaced by other types of communication.) Receiving a letter nowadays seems like a dying custom. I still relish sending my photo greeting cards to family and friends, and typically with some type of note.

As I preserve family history, my parents’ correspondence that they sent to each other in the years leading up to their 1954 marriage, is kept in an archival-quality box. Included in this collection are letters that they exchanged while Dad was in Korea and before he was discharged. They are a beautiful record of the past. Many of these letters were sent via Air Mail and clearly marked as such.

My parents began as pen-pals…she writing to a young man who was soon-to-be deployed while serving in the Korean War. Once he was deployed, Dad would write of the conditions, including the brutally cold winter that he and his fellow servicemen encountered. Mom would write of her work as a secretary and life in Anaheim, California. They were reflecting on two very different experiences, but for Dad it likely provided a reprieve from loneliness and underlying concerns for his safety and that of his unit. Mom, the “eternal optimist,” would send him letters that certainly brought him cheer. Plus, for each of them, the anticipation of the next letter probably brought a flutter to their hearts and a smile to their faces when the letters arrived.

When we go through the exercise of downsizing our households or that of our parents, I encourage us to look for correspondence. It is a valuable historical record. Not only does it give you a snapshot into the past, it can also prove invaluable as a record of local history for your parents’ community. Approach this type of collection with sensitivity. If it seems appropriate, consider donating the collection or parts of it to your local historical society. Otherwise, write a story based on the letters and share it with your family. Need help? I would be happy to do so via Heartfelt Legacies.

A Welcomed Letter!

How to Write a Brief Narrative

From the memoir and travel writing classes that I’ve taken at Lighthouse Writers Workshop  in Denver and University College at University of Denver, I discovered new ways to approach my ongoing memoir writing. One’s memoir does not have to be a birth through life journey, but instead could be a building collection of snippets and stories.

Suggestions for writing snippets and stories:

First, I may just stop to consider a scene from my life. For instance, maybe it is a favorite memory from my childhood or from my children’s childhood. Putting pen to paper (I really prefer Moleskin pads and a pen with a comfortable grip) or fingers to keyboard, I write about the scene for about 10-15 minutes. This serves as a written snapshot of what occurred.

Second, I may have a photo in front of me, which brings a rush of memories. Again, I write for a brief period of time without stopping, capturing who, what, where, when, and how.

Third, I thrive on using my five senses as part of experiences whether they be travels, activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, or while framing a section of exquisite landscape for taking a photograph. Sensory memories can also provide wonderful writing opportunities.

Please check out  my Reflections posts in the category section of the website. There I I will occasionally add some of my memoir writing that I’ve done and will continue to do. I hope this inspires you to capture your stories. Understandably, not everyone has the time or desire to sit and write one’s personal story. Another wonderful approach is to contact me and permit me to guide you through a series of interviews to capture your memoir.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my journey!