chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

stories

DAK - What is a line

When she was in her 80s and already on the precipice of her long decline, my mother enrolled in an autobiography class at a local community college. The class met weekly and the same people enrolled semester after semester, sharing their stories on paper and aloud.

Dorothy loved it. Through the writing, she retold her personal history and found a new starring role on the stage of these fragments. More than anything, she loved standing before the class and reading her stories aloud. She dramatized and flirted and used the language of her body and voice as much as her words.

After some years, when my mother could no longer see well enough to read her own stories, the teacher generously read them on her behalf. But Dorothy missed the performance, spent much of each class session asleep in her chair, and finally dropped out.

In the bottom drawer of one of my file cabinets is a fat folder filled with Dorothy’s stories, laboriously typed on her word processor — some by her and later, when she could not make sense of them, by my father. I know these stories; they’re the ones she always told — about her childhood friends, her grandfather, her first meeting with my father.

I remember them. I heard her read many of them aloud. But I cannot bring myself to open the folder and read them all again. To decide whether I’ll transcribe them or simply recycle the paper, printing something of my own on the blank side. She’s been gone more than ten years, but her voice lives in that folder, retelling herself anew, the movie of my mother playing over and over in my head.

. . . . .
words and scribbles by DAK

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8 responses to “stories

  1. lynettedavis November 13, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Publish them for the next generation–even if only on Createspace.

  2. Pat Hunt November 13, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Powerful… xo

  3. jik November 13, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Thanks, Lynette. You’re right, but alas, there IS no next. No sibs, no kids, just me…

  4. kristin November 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I wonder what my kids will do with all my writings when I’m gone.

  5. jik November 13, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Maybe you could figure out what you want done with them and give them some hints. Your family writings will be valuable to future generations, and someone down the line will be grateful for your diligent sleuthing.

  6. lynettedavis November 27, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Oh but there is a next generation. Even if they’re not your blood next generation, they may still be helped by your story. Something to think about…

  7. jik November 27, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Thanks. I guess, in a sense, that readers are the next generation.

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