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Archived Articles
Formerly published by

Shirley G. Hodges
More on Writing Your Life Story
Published: 29 March 2012
By Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

The comments and questions that I got after the previous article Writing Your Life Story made me decide to do a follow up.

Some of the comments were about the idea of writing a time line. Making a time line triggers memories and thoughts and helps you to keep focused on your project. You can think of it as making a list of chronological events in your life.

Time line designs can be anything from very formal to very personal:

You can also add in a lot of fun items, such as:
  • The first time you stayed in a hotel
  • Your first date and how you met
  • The first game in which you were a cheerleader
  • Most humorous cooking event
  • When you had a part in the school play
  • The first time you sang a solo at church
So that your children and grandchildren will understand more about your childhood and how you grew up let them know about the home that you lived in as a child. You might try drawing a floor plan of your home to help you remember things. Think about which room the family spent the most time in. Did you all gather together for meals? I can remember when we got our first refrigerator. Children today have no concept of how excited we would get when the ice man came and he would chip off a sliver of ice for us. My brother and I had a great time one day trying to identify some old photos of our home and we finally were able to date the photos because we remembered when our Mother had changed the wall paper in our living room.

Also think about the outside of your home. If you lived on a farm include the barn and sheds in your description. If you had a place where you played outdoor games tell them about that. We always had a croquet game set up when we had company. We had a large pond that froze over in the winter. I remember it well because I fell the first day that I tried out my new ice skates and broke my leg. I was out of school for 2 months and can remember how happy I was when the kids in my grade at school sent me a collection of their old comic books. There really was a life before television! Our children can hardly envision a time when we didn't have TVs, video games and all the other things to entertain ourselves.

You may think that no one is really interested in how we did things when we were growing up but you are wrong. Because things are so different now than they were when we were younger we need to tell them how we coped with things. When I was young the Dr, made house calls when you were too ill to come to him. I can remember the dr. coming to our home in the middle of the night in his pajamas when my father was very ill. His name was Dr. Lee Kelsey and he would often come by on Sunday afternoon to just make a social call. He, of course, also had his medicine bag with him. When my mother would ask him how much they owed him he would get all indignant and ask if a friend just couldn't make a social call? He was an important person in my childhood and someone that I had a great deal of respect for.

Our memories may seem very ordinary to us but hopefully, our children and our children's children will find them fascinating. Share your memories with your loved ones.

Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges, biography & genealogy lectures; email:

Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930

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