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Festive Friday: Write down your histories and memories

Marlene Miyasaki speaks at Festive Friday on preserving memories and writing your life history.

Festive Friday for March concentrated on giving the attendees ideas for writing their life stories or just tidbits of information from their lives to preserve memories for future generations. Marlene Miyasaki, of Huntington, was the featured speaker as she shared experiences from her life and how she wrote about them. She is currently meeting with a writing group and they use key words to trigger memories. Another way to trigger memories is from scent. One of the writing methods they are using now is to pick a particular spice like cinnamon, cloves, salt, pepper and other spices. They think about the spice and the memories it evokes and then write about the experience.

Miyasaki said she is passionate about journaling and keeping a personal history. You can also write about other people and help preserve your memories of them. "Your writing says something about you. We are all different. It's important for our children to help them know us and to know more about us. It's important for the grandchildren, too. In addition, to spices, we sometimes write about seasons and how the changing seasons can trigger memories."

She also mentioned how day planners can help reconstruct a life and the things that happen from day to day in our lives. Miyasaki talked about arranging photos in chronological order. You don't have to be a scrap booker, but keep pictures in some type of order. Label them. Sometimes people can write and use artwork in their journaling. You can draw a picture or place a photo and then tell about it, which records memories and times and places important in our lives.

While Miyasaki lived in Salt Lake, she kept a gardening journal of where she planted her plants and what kinds of plants and also weather conditions on certain days. She took pictures as the yard progressed over the years and now it's fun to look back on that progression of her yard projects. Another type of history preservation is to keep the letters people send to you. Also the letters that you write to others can be copied and you can save a copy for your own history. These types of records help preserve records of the happenings in your life.

Another suggestion was to have grandchildren draw pictures at family reunions and save them and make them into a coloring book to send to all family members.

She told of a lady who kept a recipe box with a card for each of her children. Each day she would record a small happening in her child's life to help her remember the small things.

"Write who you are, I like to add humor to my stories. I like little tidbits and anecdotes," said Miyasaki.

She then led the attendees in a writing exercise where they took the spice cloves and wrote about it. Participants related stories of visits to the dentists and other memories.

Miyasaki told a story of the spice cinnamon and how it brought back a memory from her childhood where kids would make cinnamon flavored toothpicks and hand them out at school. There never were enough to go around and someone was always left out. It always bothered her, that some kids were left out and didn't receive a cinnamon stick.

During the writing activity, this writer wrote down her story of a memory evoked from the spice cloves. "Cloves brings to mind for me the smell of Thanksgiving, as cloves is one of the spices to be included in a pumpkin pie. My mom, of course, makes the best pumpkin pie. It's homemade from start to finish. She begins with the crust. She measures everything precisely and mixes all ingredients with care. This isn't one of my specialities to measure and mix properly, but that's how mom cooks. The eggs for the pumpkin pie must be beaten with the egg beater. All the ingredients are mixed to perfection. The pies are baked the right amount of time at the proper temperature and turning the temperature down after 15 minutes is essential. My mom has shared many Thanksgivings with our family her speciality is the pies and her Grammie Rolls are world famous. I always say Grandma's cooking is world famous because when my sons were on missions far from home, they took memories of Grandma's rolls and pies with them," wrote Stoddard.

Miyasaki encouraged everyone to start writing and get those memories down on paper before they fade away.

Dottie Grimes from the Emery County Archives said they are having an oral history work shop on April 7 from 10 a.m.-noon to learn the method of getting people to talk and give their histories orally so they can be recorded and turned into a print version. They will learn the promptings and methods to use to get people talking to relate their first hand experiences. Grimes said how important it is to record the memories of the older generation, because they remember buildings and things that used to be in place and are no longer there. They remember life in Emery County the way it used to be. The archives is also looking for volunteers who would like to be involved in collecting these oral histories. They can help to take histories or transcribe them. Grimes said to contact her at the Archives office if they would like to be involved.

Another participant this day, told the class of a three word journal where you right down three key words that trigger a memory or an incident. If you don't have time to write at that particular time, just recording those three words will help bring back the memory when you have time to write about it.

It doesn't matter how you go about it or what your style is, Miyasaki said just get busy writing and preserving memories.

Festive Friday is held once each month at the county building in Castle Dale.




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