Monthly Archives: January 2016

Write it down…

Corky weighed 13 lbs when she was born – at home, because a storm made traveling to the hospital over snow-packed rural roads impossible so the doctor was brought to the farmhouse by sleigh and horses; she attended school in a one-room schoolhouse and because only 32 children attended the school, meaning grades had to be combined for the lone teacher’s convenience, she skipped 3rd and 5th grades and did 6th grade twice; her parents thought she would grow up to be a farmer’s wife tending to the household chores and raising children, therefore she only needed to know how to cook, clean and sew, so they didn’t allow her to go to high school…she left school after 8th grade.

These are some of the facts I have learned about my now deceased mother-in-law’s life while typing up the entries she made in The Grandparent Book; a book she received from her granddaughters to record her life story.

The Grandparent Book
The Grandparent Book

The book, which consists of questions about every aspect of a person’s life, provides enough space after each question to allow for responses.  It is designed for grandparents’ use to describe their life so descendants can know their story.

Though I knew my mother-in-law for over 40 years, I learned lots of things about her while doing this transcribing of her long-hand notes, that I never knew before.

How very interesting!

It was rather like reading a history book about life on a farm in rural Minnesota during the 1920s and 1930s.

So, why was I typing all this information that Corky had written into this book long-hand?

Questions about family
Questions about family
The early years...
The early years…

There are four grandchildren, and in fact, now four great-grandchildren with another on the way; and, there is only one Grandparent Book.  Daughter, Amy, and I decided it would be nice for all of the heirs – sons also – to have at least an electronic copy of Grandma’s story.  Since the book is bound, photocopying would be cumbersome, so Amy elected me to work on typing a copy in a computer file for sharing with everyone interested in having one.  Once I have completed the transcribing, I will be distributing a copy to family members.

Just coincidentally, Amy gave me The Grandparent Book several years ago when her first-born, Jack, was a baby.  The assumption, of course, being that I would write down my life story.  To date, I haven’t written a thing in the book.  Now, after seeing how much enjoyment one can get from reading about the life of one’s elders, I intend to sit down and begin telling my story.

I tell you this today, because I want to encourage you to share your story with your kids, grandkids or if you don’t have children, your nieces and nephews.  I feel certain they will enjoy learning about how things were in your life beginning with your childhood.  I truly wish I had a similar book or document telling about my own parents’ lives!

If writing isn’t your thing, find a book such as The Grandparent Book to prompt you with questions you can answer.  I don’t know if that particular book is still available but I’m guessing if you go online to Amazon or visit a bookstore you can find something similar to assist you with this process.

Yes, it will take you some time to record all the details of your life, but you don’t need to complete it in one sitting.  Take it slowly and work on it when you are inspired and have some time to reflect.  I’m thinking I have a terrible memory and don’t remember things about my childhood; in reality, when I sit and ponder about it, I really do have some things I could share that might be interesting.  I’m sure you do too!



Another new beginning…

Another new beginning – a big one!


The first day of the rest of my life, as they say.

Yikes, a bunch of events all happened at the same time – the holidays, the last week and day at work, my birthday, my sister’s death, and a 5-day trip to Southern California for the funeral.  Given all that, the acknowledgement of my retirement was put on the back burner.

So, today, a Monday, is the first day the realization of my freedom is settling in, though it’s been almost 2 weeks since my last day of work.  I can’t tell you how great last night – Sunday evening – felt knowing I didn’t have to get up early this morning to commute 38 miles one way and face whatever stressors work would throw at me.  I’m especially grateful for not having to leave the house this morning since it is -2º below zero or whatever ridiculously crazy temp it is here in Minnesota today.

But, now what?? 

I have some very vague plans of how I want to spend my time as I live out the last third of my life.  And, it is of course, uncertain if it really will turn out to be a third of my life.  Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball to determine just how many years I do have left.  With the recent death of my sister, I am aware it is now my generation’s time to start cashing it in.  A sobering realization!  I really do want to make the most of whatever time I have left on this earth.

During these last few months as I pondered my impending retirement and what I would do to fill my time, I thought in terms of a schedule – a plan to guide me through the days of the week.  You know, like, Mondays – laundry, Tuesdays – special projects, Wednesdays – volunteer work, Thursdays – errand day, Fridays – clean the house, Saturdays – time for fun activities…movies, sporting events, gatherings with family & friends, and Sundays – recognize the Sabbath and do nothing involving work, a time for contemplation, reading and meditation.

But, the likelihood of sticking to such a rigid schedule is probably ridiculous.  (Though, I am doing laundry today – Monday – as I write this!)  Perhaps it would be better to fly by the seat of my pants and see where I land each day.  I won’t say I’ll go where the wind blows me, as we all know I try to ignore the wind, my least favorite weather element.

I don’t know how this is all going to play out but I am extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to choose to go with the flow and see what happens, or to actually re-design my life.  And, that really is the essence of what retirement should be – a time to relax and just be, but be able to also do whatever I want!

My friend, Mary, from one of my book groups told me about a Quaker saying that seems appropriate to give as an answer when people ask me what I’m going to do now that I’m retired.

I will proceed as the way opens!

Seems like that would be a good mantra to adopt.

I would love to hear how any of you have dealt with the new gift of time afforded you by your retirement.  Please feel free to leave comments below.  For now, I will try out this schedule I have created and see how it works – no promises that I will keep it,  it could change tomorrow!