Saturday, January 8, 2011

Article #132 School Times

As I’ve written my life story as well as my parents and grandparent’s histories, I realized that I was one of the first in my family to graduate with college. My mom was the first of her four siblings to graduate from high school. My dad took early electronic courses after high school by correspondence school to learn more about radio and TV which was just being developed. Education was a priority in my immediate family. (Photo of me in 5th grade-age ten.)

Describe your early experiences in school. What were your elementary teachers like? Did you have a favorite teacher? Was school difficult for you? Did you encounter bullies at some time? What extra curricular activities, sports or clubs did you participate in? Describe a typical day in your life in your hometown during the summers. Did your family move around a lot or just stay put? How did that affect your life?

A word of advice at this point in compiling a family history, you are writing a rough draft-don’t worry about spelling, grammar, etc. Later you can come back and edit. Your job now is to get something down on paper to work with. Photos can be a great prompt in helping you with your project, gather your photos together and organize them in folders by years. Or if they are in scrapbooks, look through your school photos or old yearbooks, note which photos you want to use. Eventually you’ll want to scan them into a computer. Old pictures can unleash a flood of memories of things to write about.

I would love to know more about my dad’s school years but he didn’t write anything. His younger brother did tell me that my dad had a run-in with his chemistry teacher who failed him in this class needed for graduation. My dad had to repeat chemistry after his other classmates had graduated. That certainly tells me lots about my dad’s stubbornness, but I would love details in his own words.

Telling your posterity about your early school experiences can keep them entertained and asking you more questions about life in those days. It also opens up opportunities to teach them about your family’s values. It’s cathartic to look back and analyze what you learned during those days of struggling with the challenges that we all had. It’s not to late to start writing about your life. Start today. (Photo of my first elementary school in Eureka, Utah-it's still standing and so am I.)


  1. this one made me really want to write. thanks mom, your dad and I have Chemistry in common, I had a run in with my chemistry teacher at 11th grade could not pass the class it took me 2 years .. :) I hate hate hate organic chemistry and have never needed any of that empty knowledge in my life..

  2. I think I need to go back and write from my journal entries. I wrote a lot in those days...I wonder what I said?

  3. Great stuff, Lin. When I was much younger and my grandparents were alive, I would write down every word they said. Now I think I must write down all I remember.

    You have been beautiful all your life.

  4. I am researching my family tree as we inspired me to do it..

  5. My husband and I were just talking about how we've recorded our parents history, but not ours. I guess that will be another project.

  6. Love your photo, by the way.