Updated: Mar 30, 2020
During my childhood, it seemed that everyone knew my mom: my friends, the neighbors, my teammates, etc. She was the Girl Scout Cookie Mom and she baked chocolate chip cookies for my volleyball games. She was that mom. She’s never been afraid to chat with strangers and she came from a large, loud family. My dad was quite the opposite. Though he was also involved with my activities and education, it was mostly through conversations with me at home. He was always kind, but incredibly quiet. Unlike my mom, he is an only child and has only one (though exceptional) uncle. A few years ago, I came much too close to losing my dad to a battle with cancer. So close that one day, as I left him, I thought I may be saying my final good-bye. Thankfully, he has now been cancer-free for more than two years. Back in that moment I realized there was so much I didn’t know about my dad and it devastated me to think that the nuances of the fiber of my dad could be lost forever. When I heard about Memoir for Me, I was immediately intrigued about this opportunity for my dad. I was hoping Dad would divulge stories but I also hoped this would show Dad how much I value him.
I gave Dad the memoir for Christmas and expressed to him how much we wanted to hear his stories – and to have them to share with future generations. Knowing my dad’s introverted demeanor, I held my breath, unsure of his reaction. His response brought tears to my eyes as he said, “It would be a gift from me to the whole family.” In preparation for Dad’s interview we went through boxes of old pictures – many were unearthed that I’d never previously seen. I relived favorite childhood memories with my siblings as we recalled details of family trips and holiday traditions. Our family talks became much more colorful as we had new questions to ask and Dad had memories refreshed. We were thrilled when the final product was delivered! Our entire family indulged in the stories Dad shared and the retouched photos. In addition to preserving Dad’s life stories, I also have a new appreciation for the man behind my father. I now forever have the details of Dad’s six week cross-country motorcycle trip that included sleeping on a picnic table for protection from bears?! Details were shared that Dad may have thought insignificant. I learned that my introverted dad ran for president of his college fraternity!
I learned about the night before Dad reported for basic training. It was October 1968, the peak of Vietnam, and I can’t imagine what was going through his mind. Dad lived near Detroit and the Tigers won the World Series that night. His uncle took him downtown to be a part of the celebration--and arranged for him to join a carful of girls for the evening, returning home safely at 2:30AM the morning of his deployment. Now I'm happy to shift from client to team member! I studied journalism in graduate school at DePaul and have written local feature stories for Patch Media. Like Nora, I thoroughly enjoy a good story and believe that everyone has a story to tell. I look forward to hearing more stories, writing and preserving them for families, and researching new markets to grow this wonderful business.