Writing your life story as a part of history 32



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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!

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.

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.

Violet Apted

My name is Violet and I have two daughters and one son who have given me five adorable grandchildren. I have been freelance writer and tutor at U3A creative writing for 8 years as well as Writing forum host on 50plus website for 10 years and am now retired. I enjoy writing, using the computer and music and my dream would be to take a world cruise, as I have a love of the sea and also to write a bestseller! I’ve travelled to Egypt, Asia, Europe, USA, the UK and Africa but am originally from Sussex and lived in Kent before I moved to Australia in 1976 where I live in Brisbane. I am a contributing author in the book ‘FORGETMEKNOTS FROM THE FRONT PORCH’ published in USA last year by Obadiah Press. I have completed my first novel, a Murder abduction story and it is now published. All my books are available on amazon.com as well as FaceBook. My favourite writing would be Children’s stories and I have written many for my grandchildren. Two are now published!

  1. Couldnt agree more with this author! I have been struggling to get my story – or more to the point my family’s story on paper for years. I am now getting closer to achieving it – so much history should not go unrecorded!

    1 REPLY
  2. My dad did this, & it’s one of my most treasured things, & when I go I’ll hand it down to his great grandchildren, I still read it at times because he wrote it just the way he talked & I have a laugh, he was a real character

  3. Hahahaha oh my word I think for some it would be a treasure, for my children they would finally believe their mother had a life to be envious of!

  4. Inspirational thank you Violet. I have just come across an absolute treasure. My Grandmother as a young girl wrote a daily diary during the Boer War in South Africa. She was a beautiful artist and did many sketches of the handsome young “Ozzies” who were camped nearby and whom the family had round for meals. This book was in a box of documents which my Mum had stored in her old desk which I have finally cleared. We are all so thrilled by it,that I know the first thing I would like to do after we have finished sorting and painting, is to get to it and continue our family story.

  5. will they be interested

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    • I was telling one of my grand daughters something about my family the eldest said gee I didn’t know that.. I replied because u don’t care about my family or ask me any questions… which is true she only cares about her nana

  6. After my younger brother died my sister and I wrote his obituary to read out at his funeral. Because he was 8 years younger than us, we remembered his birth, toddler years, and much that had happened to him throughout his life. I then realised that once my sister or I go, , there will be nobody who remembers our early life. I have started to write it all down, but had not thought to put in my feelings as this author has suggested. Maybe this will be the impetus I need to get it going again.

  7. I have written my memoirs and had them printed and now a book, I think my family were impressed, especially those in other countries.

  8. I wish more of my family had done this. We have our family tree, but it would be great to put a photo and a story to even some of those names. My grandfather researched our family, even going to the UK to gather information. He got some of the stories from the records, eg one relative was affiliated with the East India Company, another was a police officer in the early settlement in Victoria. But we didn’t have their thoughts and experiences documented, and it would be interesting. Maybe they, as we probably, would think that our lives are too boring to document, but to future generations, this would be their view of a different world.

  9. I wrote my book “one woman’s story” when I was about 67 .I am now 73 It’s a great legacy to leave both family and future generations.

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