An Ordinary Life

The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend about family stories.  She told me that her grandmother had written her life story.  I thought that was so neat, and wished just one of my ancestor’s had written their life story or kept a diary.  She stated that she couldn’t do this because her life is just ordinary, and therefore, she had nothing to write about.  I told her that isn’t true.  Everyone thinks their life is ordinary, but there is plenty to write about.

Just think about it, our kids don’t know what it was like to grow up in the 50’s, 60’s let alone our grandchildren or their children someday.  Think how nice that would be for them to read about your ordinary life in the 50’s.  They don’t know about some of the things that we had in our lives or didn’t have in our lives.  Tell them about the milkman coming and your mother leaving empty bottles for him to pick up with a note in the empty bottle for what she wanted next.  My mother would put the money she owed him in an envelope and put it in the empty bottle with it sticking up enough that he could get it out.  We didn’t have two cars so we would walk to the A & P.  My kids never heard of an A & P or a National Food Store.  One day I mentioned a dime store to my grandson and he said, “What’s a dime store?” I had to explain that it was like a dollar store today.  Actually, I think the dime stores were better.  What about soda fountains in drug stores, you don’t see those around now.  The library was actually a library where you went for books and were told to be quiet.  Now it’s not just for books, but for videos, video games, Cd’s, computer, Internet, programs, etc., and your not told to be quiet.  Television was new then too, just black and white, a tiny screen, and 3 or 4 stations.  I remember thinking that Milton Berle was my Uncle because my dad always said it was time for “Uncle Milty”.   I found out he wasn’t my uncle when I asked my mother why we never saw him and why he was never at grandma’s on holidays.  What about going to the dime store for penny candy?  Where I lived there were little mom and pop stores in almost every neighborhood.  My mom sent me to one near us with a note that she wanted some napkins.  I was about eight years old and I thought I was old enough to buy napkins without a note.  I argued with my mom that I didn’t need a note.  She said, “Just give Eleanor the note.”  When I got there, I asked for napkins and did not give her the note.  When I got home and gave my mother the napkins, she said to me, “You did not give Eleanor the note did you?”  I shook my head no.  What she really wanted was Kotex.  When my brother was little, he found the box of Kotex and thought they were bandages.  He played doctor or Veterinarian with the family dog and bandaged up the dog with Kotex.  My mom would send me to the store with a note for cigarettes. You can’t do that today! Write about your friends, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and first boyfriend. Write about holiday traditions, birthday parties, picnics, your house, and your room.  You could write about how you met your spouse and your wedding day.  I could go on and on, but this gives you an idea about the ordinary things you can write about.  Just stop and think about your life, and it will help you recall the funny and sad events in your life.

Write about the historical events that happened in your life time.  For me it is the assassination of President Kennedy, first man in space, first man to orbit the earth, first man on the moon, Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.  I lived through these things and many more.  My kids and grand kids only read about them in history books.  Wouldn’t it be nice for them to read about what we were doing when these things happened, what we thought about them, and how these events affected us?  I have started my life story, and I hope this inspires you to start writing your life story too.

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