Anna has lived a very long life, at 92 she is still in possession of all her wits (more than enough of it!) even though her strength isn´t what it once was. She has makular degeneration, and because of her inability to write, she has used a tape recorder and I have transcribed all her texts (being an old secretary and rather fast at the keyboard, it has not been too hard work). After ten years of turning out one story after another, we finally sat down and read through it all and did some editing. And it´s a real book, all right. Almost 300 pages of it. There are also some great pictures, since her much older brother owned a camera and he took photos not only of his family standing in front of the house in their Sunday best, but there are images of horses plowing fields, snow shoveling, picking berries in the forrest, Anna´s father making a boat, and things like that.
|The family harvesting turnips, circa 1932.|
I really like the idea of making sure the stories survive for the next generations. She has 11 great-grandchildren (so far) that will never truly get to know her, and this way they can still get a sense of who she is and where the family comes from. The thing about using tape recorders is that the voice of the writer really stays intact, the text really comes alive. And she has, in a way, lived the life of two generations of women. First, she had kids in the 40´s, was (more or less) a stay-at-home-mom, as women were back then. Then she had a new baby in the 60´s (my husband), got an education, burned her bra (no, just kidding), started working as a teacher and was all into politics in the 70´s. She has always been, and is still, interested in what is going on at all levels of society and uses what influence she has, whenever she feels it appropriate. This is really a woman with a voice of her own.
As you can tell, she is a great influence on me, a great inspiration, and we have always got along swimmingly. Not least, being a fully trained seamstress, who once had her own studio, she has influenced whatever style I have. She really is the perfect companion on a shopping trip.
I think all retirees with too much time on their hands and memories and reflections of the past, should write something about their lives. It´s not difficult, it doesn´t have to be perfect. And it doesn´t have to be a "real" book either. Just save your text to a pdf-file and anyone can read it on their computer, on their e-book reader or surf pad or smartphone or whatever. It´s the easiest way to publish, a pdf on a blog, I bet you can post it on Facebook or mail it to friends and family. Just do it, it is more valued than you think. And will become more and more of a treasure when you are not there anymore, even though we don´t like to think too much about that, no no.