Under this heading it is only natural that I should mention my current project, encouraging a lovely group of ladies to record their memories of the period. 1946-1969. The project is about life in Britain but my volunteers are currently as far apart as Australia, Greece, USA and the British Virgin Islands. Some ladies went to boarding schools, some to grammar schools and some to secondary moderns. Some are only children, some had large extended families and some grew up in care. Some experienced this era as teenagers and others as married women with families; my oldest participants are in their nineties. I have sisters taking part, mothers and daughters and groups of friends. About half my volunteers have joined a Facebook Group dedicated to the project and this has taken on a life of its own, as members share memories. The participants are hugely supportive of each other and are genuinely enjoying the experience.
Although writing one’s memoirs could be seen as self-indulgence it can also be cathartic. Not only that, even people who think their lives are intrinsically boring have plenty to offer. I am greatly enjoying reading each and every one of the memoirs that I am sent. I am humbled by how grateful the participants are to be taking part. If you have ever thought about writing your life story, don’t hesitate, make a start. If possible, chat with someone else about the era. Even if they did not share your life at that point in time you will spark off memories. Don’t worry if you feel you are ‘no good’ at writing or if you think you have nothing to say. Look through old photographs to help the reminiscences flow. If you are not fortunate enough to have photographs, take a look at books that cover the time that you are writing about. There are some suggestions for 1946-1969 below. In any case make a start, your descendants will thank you for it.
Feeney, Paul A 1950s Childhood: From Tin Baths to Bread and Dripping The History Press (2009)
Feeney Paul, A 1960s Childhood: from Thunderbirds to Beatlemania The History Press (2010)
Opie Robert The 1960s Scrapbook Pi Global Publishing (1999)
Pressley, Alison The 50s and 60s The Best of Times: Growing up and Being Young in Britain Michael O’Mara Books (2003)
Those starting to write their memoirs may also be interested in The Book of Me