Your story needs to be shared! 3

I have just finished reading one of the most beautiful gifts a mother can give to her children – the gift of a memoir about her life.  My friend asked me to read and make spelling corrections to her Mother’s memoir.  As I was editing it, I could hear Bar’s soft, honeyed, southern voice.  She told about what life was like in the small, Southern town she grew up in.  She told about finding and accepting her purpose in life.  She shared how the numerous children she did not birth but who she mothered found their way into her life.  (She has an abundance of love and was able to give it to her own six children and these other children.)  She shared funny, sad, and painful stories.  She is having her story copied and bound into a volume for each of her children.

I was deeply touched by what a unique and special gift this is.

We all seek explanations about where we’ve come from.  For many of us, our parents’ lives and reasoning are a mystery to us.  Many of them don’t talk about their lives willingly.  Many of us don’t ask for their stories or listen well when they start in on an anecdote that they may have told a dozen times or more.

One of the best things Bar wrote in her memoir is that she didn’t have a favorite child, despite her children’s assertions that each other was that special one.

I come away loving her even more than I did, for a life well-lived.  She’s never had a lot of money and, in many ways, grew up on the margins of life, yet she had abundant love, laughter and friends (including “menfolks” – you go, Bar!).

I am going to encourage my mother to open her memory bank and share her stories of growing up in Kinloch, Missouri – an all black city that was a full and wonderful place in her childhood.  I am going to get my husband to write or dictate to me his All American Black boyhood in Boston.  He had a wonderful, warm and loving childhood here in Roxbury/Boston.

We are each on a unique journey.  We all have stories that deserve to be told, that need to be recorded somewhere if for no other reason than to say, “we were here!”  If you are blessed enough to have your parents on this earth, please find a way to hear and preserve their stories.  If you don’t, write down what you remember and start on your memoir.  Your children and your friends will be most blessed that you

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

3 thoughts on “Your story needs to be shared!

  • Jim Lewis

    I think it is ironic that many of us want the multicultural paradigm in which all individuals respect and admire each other, maybe even become “color blind” in the best sense, and yet have very fond memories of our single ethnicity youths. Mine was all white. I didn’t meet my first black person until I went to high school and he was mixed race African/Asian/American brought to school on a basketball scholarship. So much for debunking stereotypes. I loved my childhood and race had nothing to do with it. I guess maybe that’s what we’re after, love no matter what the reason. I wish my father, who died in 2001, had written his memoirs. For those parents who don’t want to write a memoir, you might be able to convince them to respond to questions with a tape recorder running…my mother has agreed…

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