My grandmother didn’t drink and woe betide the person who did in her presence. She was a solid churchgoer who didn’t let us play Snap (card game) on Sundays and belonged to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. My parents had drinks only when company came, which was rare, and then only one. Or two, if the occasion was really special and went on for hours. My husband and I have a drink when we feel like it, maybe once or twice a week. Certainly more than those generations who came before us.
I was thinking about how much writing we do. Has it grown in the same way as the proliferation of alcohol? I have in my possession my grandma’s diary, a treasure to me as she kept it during the Second World War when her son, my uncle, fought with the Allies in Italy. She often wrote of packing a carton to mail to Frank and there is the entry where she went back a few weeks and added words. Frank was killed in Italy on this day. To my knowledge this is the only writing she ever did, except for writing air mail letters on that blue paper, filling every bit of space with news for her friends and relatives in Europe. Interesting that she kept her one diary over the time her son was killed.
My mother had a wonderful sense of rhyme and rhythm and wrote many addresses in verse for community gatherings. If a couple were getting married there would be a social and mom would deliver her humorous recitation. After my father died, she bought a new typewriter (I tried to talk her into a computer) and, with failing eyesight, began typing her story about her childhood, more by touch than by sight. She used third person and the story was about someone else living in her time. I edited some of it for her. Unfortunately her eyesight became impossible and she left off her excellent story. It was never finished. But at least she got further than Grandma did.
Over my life many short pieces have come out of my head and onto paper: two cookbooks, two books of family memories, a children’s storybook for my grandchildren, and Loyal to the Crown, my historical novel. It is book one in a planned series of three. Most of this writing I did after leaving teaching. And I maintain two blogs, one personal and my writing blog.
My daughter, on the other hand, started publishing in her twenties, has a number of magazine credits, and more projects coming. She is much younger starting than any of us who came before and will probably go much farther. Each generation pushes further ahead, if my family is any indication. Isn’t that grand?
What is your writing story in your family? Does this carry into all aspects of life? Consider leaving a comment below.