Monday, January 14, 2008


Today was my Personal History Group. There were only three of us there and we laughed half the time. If that isn't good for mental health I don't know what is. Two of us have kids that are grown, the other one has little people at home, her youngest is a year old. This little one wanders around, jabbering her own language, climbing on her mom's lap, swiping the phone to punch in numbers for a phone call to China--I wonder what the charges for that will be--and then wandering off again, talking it all over to herself.

We talk and talk and finally get around to reading our work. We laugh if it's funny and cry if it's sad. Carolyn read poetry she had written for two granddaughters and a son who have February birthdays. I know her son and she captured his life perfectly. I was amazed at his perseverance with life and how much he has accomplished.
Because Sarah's printer is gasping it's last, running out of ink, as she read I had to circle my favorite parts in the void of no-words and hope she knew what I loved. For someone so young she has great insights and is figuring out how to help her children grow up whole and strong. She and her husband are working together to make an incredible family. I am amazed that someone so young is so generous with her time and so willing to help others. She never suggests we ought to go home because we've stayed too long, we could probably stay for dinner if we wanted. If anyone in the neighborhood needs help Sarah offers her time or whatever resources she has.

On the way home I saw a snow fort. The daddy who lives there donated some of his indoor plants that weren't doing well and so they died a frozen life outside, giving stability to his children's creation. A red shirt and hat are one flag, there is a box, stuck on a stick--who knows what that represents--the green flag, waved at me as I passed. (These pictures are horrible, sorry. I should have taken them from a different angle.)
The untidiness of this fort is amazing. I think the neighbors are being patient because they know the parents and the kids who built the monstrosity--and because they know the sun will take care of it eventually. I saw beauty in the melting creation. On one side a plastic chair is built into the wall. Cardboard boxes originally were covered in snow rolled balls but now the snow is melting and the cardboard is bare.

I hope the children who made this fort will remember all it's details and one day write their own personal history story of how it was built. I doubt the written word will show a picture such as this. It will have turrets and majestic flags--perhaps the red one for the damsels and the green one for the knights.

There will be a lookout chair for people to watch for marauding tribes sneaking into their territory. The cardboard walls will be made of sturdy mortar with secret windows to check for danger. And inside? All will be remembered as cozy--a safe place for planning adventures, sharing snacks, bundling against the cold and enjoying the incredible gift of friendship.

Just like I found today at our tiny personal history group of three. Two women I love and shared a couple of hours with. Two women with whom I shared a story of my life and they shared stories of theirs. And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

It doesn't get better than this.


Cindy said...

Your group sounds great!! I put down on a survey for Relief Society that I would love a personal history group! We will see what happens.

Aprilyn said...

What do you do in this group? I guess I thought it was like a Genealogy group where you get together and work on Family History stuff. Do you write things and share them with the group? I should do something like that. I wrote a story about my Mom once and it made my English teacher cry. I hope I can find that story somewhere. If I find it, I'll post it on my blog.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Aprilyn, we write a story from our life. Stories from our childhood or married life, etc. Some of the stories posted here are from my personal history group. I wrote My Mother's First Love, Time for a Confession--Elizabeth Did It, The War in San Diego, The Chair Fairy, The Toilet Flushed, and others for my personal history group first and then, when I couldn't think of anything to write on a certain day I just copied them here. I have been a memeber of the PH group for over a year and have at least 60 stories sritten. I love going, love the women in the group, having these small groups was an inspired decision for the church.

I hope you can get a group going. You will love it.

Astromom said...

Thank you for you sweet words, you are so sweet, I bet my daughter has called to China before and I've just hung up the phone just in time. I love the group, and you are deceiving everyone it is me who talks too much and it is you who are so generous and let me go on and on. You are wonderful and I am so grateful you started the writing group, I look forward to it more than any other event every week.