Writing your life story as a part of history

One of the hardest things for me to accept is that I have lived long enough to become a part of history! Of course the longer I live the bigger part of history I become. I find it strange, when a teenager asks, “Who was Winston Churchill?”, for example.

I grew up in the days of WWII and everything about it being as clear as if it were yesterday, in my mind. You can imagine how I felt when the response I had from one of my stories was, “You lived, what is only history to me. How wonderful!”

Suddenly I felt ancient. My school days are history! Wow! Now that’s a thought isn’t it? At least, I tell myself, it is modern history, not ancient history.

The history of WWII is well catalogued, though there are very few accounts of a child’s perspective. That is why I wrote my story “War Through the Eyes of a Child”. What I did not realise at the time was that I was writing history.

I am now in the process of writing my life story for my children and grandchildren. I am incorporating this story into it, so that one day, future generations of my family will know there is another side to war:a child’s point of view. They will learn about me and how I felt during those terrible years. They will learn about my hopes and my fears. Yes, I will really be history by then of course, but remembered, I hope!

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It is hard to realise that even today, will be history one day, but it will! Think about this and I hope every one of you will begin to write your life story for your family. We owe it to them don’t we?

Write your story and do not take a shortcut! It would be so easy to skip through the years, taking shortcuts all the way, but when you do that. There are none of the little details, that go to make you, what you are: an individual, a unique person! The future generations of your family will want to know the real you. They will want to know ‘what made you tick’, to use a modern expression.

Just imagine your great, great, great granddaughter reading your story! Can you just hear her saying, “So that’s where I get my love of writing from”? Or maybe, your great, great grandson, looking up from your story and saying, “Wow! My great, great grandparent hated carrots as much as I do”? I can!

It would be so easy to take the shortcuts; to write lots of facts and figures! Just to write out the dates and all the ‘well known’ details. Do they really want to know that war broke out in September 1939 and ended in 1946? Will they really be interested in the years of rationing?

They will! But only if you tell them how it all affected you and how you felt! How you cried, when a friend was killed in the bombing. What you experienced when your home and school were bombed. They will want to know the reason you suffered from claustrophobia was because for many years your schooling was in underground air raid shelters.

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They will want to laugh when you tell them about the shortcut through the field on the way to school was simply because of the American Air Force base situated there. And the free breakfasts they gave you (no rationing there).

But this is my story of course! You will have your own exciting and interesting details to tell.

So, instead of only stating the facts, tell them WHO you are. Tell them how you felt! What made you laugh, what made you cry? Tell them how you loved and lost. What was it that caused you heartache? What gave you happiness? You cannot do that by taking shortcuts!

Yes, one day I will be history! I am writing my memoirs, because, I want my life to be remembered with love and interesting enough for my family to want to read about me. Maybe I want them to say, “I wish I could have known her”.

Will you, or have you, written your life story? What do you think your descendants will say about your life? Tell us below.