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WOW! Can’t believe I am rockin’ the big 60 today. I certainly don’t feel it. Most days. Ha!
I think about both my grandmas at 60 and realize how things have changed. My grandkids certainly don’t view me as I did those diligent ladies of faith and family; elderly, tired, out of touch with changing times. Heck, my grandkids (now in their 20s) come to me with computer questions, I have more social media than they do, and I’ve done a lot of the things they can’t imagine, like feeding a tiger fresh ground hamburger from my bare hands so a photographer could get a pretty girl in the picture. That tiger wrapped one paw around my back and snuggled in. The photographer was thrilled that the tiger liked me. I was terrified, but we got the picture, and I learned that modeling was not for me.
I find myself wondering about my grandmothers on their big 60 birthdays. What were their memories, desires, fears, loves, and most of all what had they experienced in their 60 years? I find myself wanting more than anything to sit down and have a conversation with two women who quietly worked in the back ground of my childhood, baking, making homemade chicken soup, reading, sewing by hand, creating Christmas memories, etc., everything to try and make the world a better place for me. Who were they, really?
I guess I’ve arrived at that age where writing memoir begins to tug on my heart and whispers to my soul to find the pieces of the puzzle, put them together and leave them for the next generation who will have no time or interest in such things until I am long gone.
One of my grandmothers actually belonged to the Suffragettes and voted for the first time with a group of them in 1923. What a moment in history. Sadly that momentous day is lost on our young women these days. When I picture my (parallel) life at her age it’s hard to reconcile my 1970s disco-tiger-taming era behavior with her fighting for the right to vote. Oh sure, I was fighting for women’s rights; right to drink, dance, have sex, go bra-less, and I spent many years hitting that glass ceiling, and so much more. Still, hard to compare the life of a cocktail waitress in a popular nightclub with that of a suffragette. But, she was proud of me. I suppose we’ve all come a long way baby.
So I guess if I write that memoir someday sooner than later, that’s where I’d start, with her, my suffragette. Where would you start your memoir? Would it have historical reference? Would it have a universal appeal? Because remember, all family stories are interesting to the family, a memoir must entertain and have some kind of significant reason for telling the story.
I know that I have a great deal of history in mine because my family has a lot of significant moments, and I know I can link those moments in my story to the desires of today’s women who struggle to find their way, their place, their meaning. I know I can do that and make it a universal ‘coming of age’ story. If I couldn’t do that I wouldn’t entertain writing my memoir for an audience outside family. Memoirs are tricky, but as soon as I finish the novel I am currently writing, I’ll be working on mine. Thanks for letting me ramble. It is my 60th birthday, so some rambling should be expected. Cheers, Mindy
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