Am I the Only One … who thinks we should write down our memories?

By:  Donna Hale Chandler

writeletterMy life began as the daughter of a coal miner in West Virginia and never in my seventy something years did I dream of being a writer. I would write little rhymes for special occasions, but I never considered them anything other than a momentary grin.

Then, something happened in 2009 which set me on a new and different path. I unexpectedly lost my mother. She and I had been through many a crisis together and we each always came through even stronger and closer. We had already lost my dad, my only sibling, and my husband, so along with my two children, Mom and I were the last standing of our small, but closely-knit family.

Several days after saying my final good-bye to my mother, I began the heart-wrenching chore of cleaning out her home. As I packed up clothing, keepsakes that were important to her and other odds and ends, I came across an unusual-looking book in the back of one of her dresser drawers.

When I pulled it out, I remembered many Christmas’s ago when my 10-year old daughter, Heather, had given this book to her Nana. When it was unwrapped and flipped open, my mother looked questioningly at her youngest grandchild. “Heather, the pages are all blank.”

“I know, Nana,” Heather answered, “I want you to write about your life.”

My mother looked even more confused and commented, “What would I write? My life hasn’t been anything extraordinary.”

“I think it probably was, Nana,” her young granddaughter continued. “And I want to know about you before there was me.”

The memory of that Christmas so long ago enveloped me as I sat down and slowly folded back the cover to see page after page filled with my mother’s beautiful handwriting. She had never mentioned that she’d followed through with my daughter’s request. Instead she had quietly written page after page until the book was full of her life, her love and her memories.

It took me hours and hours to read through my tears but I learned so many things about my mother that I never would have known if she hadn’t written it down. I wished that she had shared it with me while she was still alive and decided right then to write about myself so my children would learn who their mother was as she grew up. I also decided that they needed to have it NOW, instead of after my passing.

I know that the book my mother wrote was for her only granddaughter and I told Heather when I found it. She graciously gave me permission to cherish it for a while myself before turning it over to her. I open it often and think about my mother. I hope my daughter and son will open my books when I’m gone and that they’ll have happy memories too.


Gram use’ta say

Old Lady 4

“Live your life in such a manner as to allow your friends to have lots of funny stories to tell long after you’re gone.”


From The Hints Book Almanac
By Donna Hale Chandler and Richard Lee King

13. Keep your oven clean – Keep messy drips off the bottom of your oven by laying a sheet or two of aluminum foil over the rack below. DO NOT line the bottom of the oven, this could cause a fire.
14. Keeps pets off your furniture – Place a piece of aluminum foil on the seat cushions. After one attempt at sitting down on the noisy surface, your pet will no longer consider this a comfortable place for a nap.
15. Sharpen your scissors – Fold aluminum foil into several layers and start cutting. Seven or eight passes should do the trick.




1 thought on “Am I the Only One … who thinks we should write down our memories?”

  1. Very nice comments, well written and obviously from the heart. I find myself writing often now and understand where it is coming from.


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