Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Memoir – Remembering Dad 2013 by Sherrey Meyer


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the final post from the archives of writer Sherrey Meyer whose blog is titled Life in the Slow Lane. This week I have chosen a post that I am sure all of us who miss their fathers will relate to.. This was for Father’s Day June 16th 2013 so I am not too far out date wise.

Memoir – Remembering Dad 2013 by Sherrey Meyer

Clockwise L-R: Dad sitting at a linotype machine, Dad at 16, and Dad showing me how to use my new tricycle

Clockwise L-R: Dad sitting at a linotype machine, Dad at 16, and Dad showing me how to use my new tricycle

Dad was and still is my hero. Life was never easy for him growing up. The story I’ve been told, not by Dad but by other family members, is that when he was four Dad and his siblings, a brother seven and a sister nine, their mother took them to an orphanage after the death of their father at age 36. With no means of income and in the early 1900s, my grandmother had no other choice. Skipping ahead a few years, Dad found himself left behind as his siblings reached the discharge age. Dad stayed at the orphanage until he was 16 and had lost track of his siblings.

At this time, he moved to Winchester, TN where he began work as an apprentice at the newspaper in this small town. The work was hard and when not at the newspaper, he helped the owner of the paper with his peanut crop. Fortunately, the owner also provided him with housing. According to Dad, the best part of the job was meeting Dinah Shore before she was famous. Her father owned the local mercantile where Dad shopped on occasion.

The hard work didn’t end there. When he became proficient in typesetting, he moved to Nashville and began working at a variety of places. But he always worked hard. Hard at work and hard at home. He never seemed to want to be idle, except when his poor health got in the way. You see Dad was a recovering alcoholic. And the alcoholism had taken a toll on his pancreas, liver and stomach. He almost died in 1948 when I was just two years old. After that, his health kept Dad from doing a lot of things other dads did with their families. But one thing was sure — Dad always showed up for work and he worked hard.

At home he worked hard maintaining our house and yard, and each year there was a little garden back in the corner of our back yard. He treasured the vegetables and fruits he planted, and Dad’s love of blooming flowers grew larger each year. One of my favorite memories is the year he planted close to 100 tulip and daffodil bulbs in a bed along the side of our garage. One by one, the squirrels dug up the bulbs and “planted” nuts! It was one of the few times I ever saw Dad lose his cool.

Dad reached hero status with me by loving me quietly, gently and warmly. Unlike our mother, Dad’s voice was never raised. If something was wrong or if we were in trouble, it was a quiet talk with Dad about understanding what was wrong and asking us to explain how it would not happen again. If you asked him for advice, Dad was slowly explain what he would do in the particular situation but ended with a reminder that this is your situation, your decision, and your consequences. It was part of growing up, he always reminded.

I think Dad always knew how I cherished our relationship, and to this day I find myself talking to him when times get a little tough. I’m always thinking about him wondering what life would have been like if he’d been healthier, if he and Mom had married a little younger (Dad was 45 when I was born), and if he’d lived longer (he died at age 72). I was only 27.

I have a long list of things I credit my Dad with infusing into my life:

  1. love of reading and words
  2. love of music
  3. gentleness and compassion
  4. good work ethic
  5. standing for what you believe in
  6. a quiet Christian faith

On this Father’s Day and every one since his death, I sit and wish he were next to me so I could tell him again how much I love him. But, he’s not here, and I tell him anyway. I believe in heroes, and I believe they can hear us.

Dad, I love you!

I am sure that you too have a long list of things you could credit your father with and we would love it if you would share in the comments.

©Sherrey Meyer 2013

About Sherrey Meyer

Sherrey Meyer, Blog Owner, Writer

Hi! I’m Sherrey, and I am a writer. I haven’t always been a writer but managed at all times to pursue my love of words through reading and writing. Sometimes I get so carried away with my love of words I also proofread and beta read for other writers.

I grew up the middle child but it doesn’t seem to have caused any difficulty in carrying out my roles as a wife, mother, grandma, and great-grandma. When opportunity provides, you’ll find me writing or reading. I love words!

My current work-in-progress is a memoir, the story of a Southern matriarch and how she ruled the roost with not so pleasant methods. On occasion, I have been lucky and written essays that actually were accepted for publication in anthologies.

My writing and proofreading experience reaches back to near age 12 when my publisher and printer father decided he needed some part-time help on several large government projects. He trained me to proofread and edit, and on weekends and during school holidays I had my own mini-office in my bedroom dedicated to my efforts.

Daddy was the source of my love of words. Words have always fascinated me, but life has inserted itself along the way. Now a retired legal secretary, where I used these skills, I now enjoy the time to focus on my passion for writing.

Connect to Sherrey

Blog: https://sherreymeyer.com/about/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sherrey_Meyer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherreyMeyerWriter/
Published Work:https://sherreymeyer.com/published-work/writing-samples-published-works/

My thanks to Sherrey for permitting me to delve into her archives and share with you.. Please head over and enjoy browsing them yourselves. Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Nonfiction Essay with Bonus | 7 Tips for Preserving Family Memories 2014 by Sherrey Meyer


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the third post from the archives of writer Sherrey Meyer whose blog is titled Life in the Slow Lane. This week I have chosen a post about the preservation of family history, much of which is divulged in conversations with elderly members of the family. It is so important to discover and save this living hisory.

Nonfiction Essay with Bonus | 7 Tips for Preserving Family Memories 2014 by Sherrey Meyer

Today I am sharing with you a recent experience which started my husband and me thinking. Thinking about family, memories, storytelling, and how to share that history with the next generation. On the Meyer side of our family, the work is somewhat up-to-date. But who will carry the torch after our generation is gone? Our generation is slipping away slowly one by one. What about your family history?

She isn’t the sister I knew,” my husband says when he returns from driving his sister, Mary Ellen, home after lunch.

I don’t know what to say. I understand what his words mean. I still don’t know what to say.

This is the second sibling I have heard him make this comment about, the other a brother who died almost two years ago.

“As long as you can remember the good times, the days in Outlook, Mary Ellen seems to have good recall.” Words I use to encourage him.

In fact, it happened over lunch.

When Bob arrived to pick Mary Ellen up and bring her to our home, she asked her now routine question, “Have you been here before?

And the answer is always yes as one of us visits weekly, if not more. Since her assisted living community is only eight blocks away, we often make it our daily walk to visit.

But her short-term memory has lost its bearings.

We visit for a time, and then lunch calls us. It is our first time to sit with only the three of us around the table. Mary Ellen’s husband died a couple of months ago, and her move near us and a nephew is relatively recent.

We join hands for grace. Her skin has the feel of thin paper, and her hands are cold. It’s in the upper 80s outside.

We chat amiably while eating. Mary Ellen jokes about her unreliable memory, and we commiserate that our collective memories aren’t much better some days.

Bob recalls receiving an invitation recently from their grade school in Outlook, WA, a tiny space in the road in the Yakima Valley. He mentions the name of the woman who sent it and with whom he has talked. He asks Mary Ellen if she remembers Dorothy Cullen from their grade school days.

She looks up and furrows her brow. Finally, she says she doesn’t, her now nearly gone eyesight trying to focus on him.

And then she says, “Oh, there was a Dorothy Ross in Outlook.

Yes, this was the woman Bob was talking about but he had used her married name since he couldn’t think of her maiden name.

That recalled memory is from decades ago, but our visits with Mary Ellen recently have only been in the last two months. She doesn’t remember us visiting or others calling or coming by. She doesn’t remember her husband is dead.

We sit later that day talking about family and memories. Bob and I know with certainty that we too are growing older daily, and our memories aren’t always as sharp as they used to be.

Mary Ellen is the oldest of the six Meyer siblings and the genealogist in the family. She has researched, traveled, and visited with family members all over New England and the Midwest. Her travels include trips to cemeteries, old schools and churches, and the family history we have is amazing.

Not only that, Mary Ellen, a retired school teacher, is among the best storytellers in the family. Up until now, her mind was never faulty on a single detail about farm life, grade school teachers, preachers in the country church, music lessons, and life in tiny Outlook, WA.

But this record keeper and researcher is nearly blind, her mind is failing, and she turns 90 in a few weeks. Who will take up the torch and tread the course in keeping the family history and the stories moving generation to generation?

We haven’t been the best stewards of the Meyer history. At least the record of the Meyer clan is in many hands now, thanks to the Internet. But will it continue to spread as our family continues to grow?

We encourage our children to slow down, make treasured memories, memories that will last, and to write them down for future generations to read and share on and on. And we ask them to make sure they label photos on their Smartphones and computers with names, dates, places so someone will know a bit of the story held in the images decades from now.

Otherwise, a family’s legacy can be lost in time and age. 

A few tips readily came to mind in keeping the family history alive as Bob and I talked:

  1. Take advantage of every family gathering by encouraging time for storytelling and sharing experiences and have someone take notes.
  2. Make sure you keep up a family record of births, deaths, and weddings. This information will be helpful to whoever is in charge of maintaining the family genealogy.
  3. Mark photos with names, dates, places, occasions, and any other information benefit recall. Stories can be written from photos as the images are great triggers for recall and memory.
  4. Take advantage of state and county records in researching family records.
  5. Sites now exist that are also helpful in researching family Ancestry.com helped me uncover information on my father’s family; with three children tragically ending up in an orphanage in the early 1900s, I had almost given up hope of finding anything. Other genealogical sites include US GenWeb ,   US National Archives  Genealogy TodayUS Census Records  Ellis Island Records, and  Family Search (large database sponsored by the Mormon Church).
  6. When a family member passes on, and if you are able to do so, hang on to every slip of paper you might find among the individual’s effects. Recently, a search of the unemployment records in Nashville, TN for the years 1944-45 helped me confirm some information about my parents. I had found discharge slips issued to my parents from the same employer on the same date among my mother’s effects. But something just didn’t seem right. I checked and found I could get access to certain information about their unemployment. And I was right — my father’s service terminated a month after my mother’s.
  7. And lastly, I know that Mary Ellen was not shy about writing letters to people who had a similar last name and lived in an area where other family members had once lived, or who might have arrived at Ellis Island with ancestors, and these contacts provided the information she might not have uncovered otherwise.

It is never too late to begin tracking your family’s history. Whether you think you are a writer or not, you can write stories in a journal, on your computer, in a notebook, or by any method you choose.

Then pass what you have on to the next generation by sharing it with them from time to time so questions can be asked and answered. Leave it somewhere so when you are no longer around, it will be easily found and handed off to a family member.

This post isn’t intended to be about doom and gloom, but last Thursday’s lunch brought out the importance of what would happen to the Meyer family history now that Mary Ellen is no longer able to be the keeper of the work she so lovingly provided for us.

The tips here are some used in my research and gathered in talking with Mary Ellen over the years. I wanted to share this personal time in our life to provide, I hope, a clear picture of the importance of storytelling in the present.

©Sherrey Meyer 2014

About Sherrey Meyer

Sherrey Meyer, Blog Owner, Writer

Hi! I’m Sherrey, and I am a writer. I haven’t always been a writer but managed at all times to pursue my love of words through reading and writing. Sometimes I get so carried away with my love of words I also proofread and beta read for other writers.

I grew up the middle child but it doesn’t seem to have caused any difficulty in carrying out my roles as a wife, mother, grandma, and great-grandma. When opportunity provides, you’ll find me writing or reading. I love words!

My current work-in-progress is a memoir, the story of a Southern matriarch and how she ruled the roost with not so pleasant methods. On occasion, I have been lucky and written essays that actually were accepted for publication in anthologies.

My writing and proofreading experience reaches back to near age 12 when my publisher and printer father decided he needed some part-time help on several large government projects. He trained me to proofread and edit, and on weekends and during school holidays I had my own mini-office in my bedroom dedicated to my efforts.

Daddy was the source of my love of words. Words have always fascinated me, but life has inserted itself along the way. Now a retired legal secretary, where I used these skills, I now enjoy the time to focus on my passion for writing.

Connect to Sherrey

Blog: https://sherreymeyer.com/about/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sherrey_Meyer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherreyMeyerWriter/
Published Work:https://sherreymeyer.com/published-work/writing-samples-published-works/

My thanks to Sherrey for permitting me to delve into her archives and share with you.. Please head over and enjoy browsing them yourselves. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #Family History – 5 Ways to Excavate Memories 2015 by Sherrey Meyer


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the first post from the archives of writer Sherrey Meyer whose blog is titled Life in the Slow Lane. If you are planning on tracing your family history or bringing together research for a memoir, I am sure you will find this post very helpful.

Family History – 5 Ways to Excavate Memories 2015 by Sherrey Meyer

Archaeologists reach fame, and sometimes fortune, in excavating historical sites. Sometimes their finds are unexpected. Other times they rumors point to the place where an Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb might be located. Often they decide to dig near a historic site “just because.”

Via John Atherton on Flickr

Via John Atherton on Flickr

Memoirists are akin to archaeologists in the way they mine their memories for the right facts and stories to include in their memoirs. Many people have amazing minds catalogued similarly to a library catalog, even into separate rooms for certain memories. Unfortunately, my memory and/or mind is not so neatly organized. How about yours?

Even with the painful history I’m working from in writing my memoir, sometimes I need help in excavating memories which will make for fact-based, truthful, and interesting reading.

He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.”~ Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Following are some tips for making your memory work easier:

  1. Look at old photographs. Images evoke memories of special occasions, celebrations, growth, changes. Remember the picture in your high school yearbook taken by the professional photographer? Did it really look like you? What are your memories of that day? The possibilities for good flash memoir, a chapter in your book, or a blog post can be found in a stack of old black-and-whites.
  2. Items passed down through the family. We are in the process of downsizing and getting rid of many years of accumulation. And yet we also continue to receive family items, most recently a rocking chair in which husband Bob’s grandfather always sat. That rocking chair sits silently in our family room, but generates great conversation as Bob shares his memories of life on the farm and his grandpa in that chair. What item of furniture or family history do you have that brings back memories?
  3. What about smells? For me, certain aromas or smells evoke memories of my mother’s kitchen. Mama was a Southern cook to the core with meals consisting of more than could be eaten. But oh, the wonderful aromas as opened the front door after school! Husband Bob uses the aftershave my dad did, and its smell brings back early morning memories of Dad preparing for work. Or the smell of newsprint brings Dad right into the room with me. Is there an aroma that reminds you of someone or something?
  4. Language, dialect, and regional idioms. Growing up in the South, we called every carbonated beverage in the store or gas station “Coke.” Fast forward to 1983, we move to Oregon where the regional nomenclature for carbonated beverages is “pop.” There isn’t a distinct dialect in the Pacific NW so for a time I would stand out in groups because of my Southern drawl. It could make for some embarrassing incidents, and I quickly moved to tame my tongue.The uniqueness of language, dialect, and regional idioms are excellent memory triggers.
  5. Music of a certain period. Music is a powerful tool in evoking memories. Think of a particular song you’ve listened to for decades. Perhaps from your teens, your early years of marriage, or maybe a lullaby sung to you as a child. I remember well the song, “Glow Worm.” A recital piece in my early musical career. I worked hard to use correct fingering, keep the rhythm exact, and incorporate all the dynamics. I’ll never forget that song, or the dress my mother made for that recital, or the smile my dad give me as I took my bow, or the pride I felt in my accomplishment. What song or piece of music brings back memories for you?

As you work on your book or a short piece of memoir, perhaps one or more of these tips will be useful to you in digging up the memories you want to share.

 Would you like to share another method you may use in your writing to evoke memories in the comments below… Thanks Sherrey.

©Sherrey Meyer 2015

About Sherrey Meyer

Sherrey Meyer, Blog Owner, Writer

Hi! I’m Sherrey, and I am a writer. I haven’t always been a writer but managed at all times to pursue my love of words through reading and writing. Sometimes I get so carried away with my love of words I also proofread and beta read for other writers.

I grew up the middle child but it doesn’t seem to have caused any difficulty in carrying out my roles as a wife, mother, grandma, and great-grandma. When opportunity provides, you’ll find me writing or reading. I love words!

My current work-in-progress is a memoir, the story of a Southern matriarch and how she ruled the roost with not so pleasant methods. On occasion, I have been lucky and written essays that actually were accepted for publication in anthologies.

My writing and proofreading experience reaches back to near age 12 when my publisher and printer father decided he needed some part-time help on several large government projects. He trained me to proofread and edit, and on weekends and during school holidays I had my own mini-office in my bedroom dedicated to my efforts.

Daddy was the source of my love of words. Words have always fascinated me, but life has inserted itself along the way. Now a retired legal secretary, where I used these skills, I now enjoy the time to focus on my passion for writing.

Connect to Sherrey

Blog: https://sherreymeyer.com/about/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sherrey_Meyer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherreyMeyerWriter/
Published Work:https://sherreymeyer.com/published-work/writing-samples-published-works/

My thanks to Sherrey for permitting me to delve into her archives and share with you.. Please head over and enjoy browsing them yourselves. Sally.