A Day in My Life, March 14, 2024 — National Tell Your Story Day

Mar 14, 2024 | Day in the Life, Life Experiences, Memoirs, Music, Remembrance, Uncategorized, Writing | 7 comments

Today is National Tell Your Story Day, and I’ve been thinking that the crux of this day is what the RRBC bloggers have been doing since March 1, 2024: telling our stories.

I have so enjoyed everyone’s stories; however, I want to come from a different angle today.

I want to encourage people to write some stories from when they were young so that they have something they can leave to posterity when their lives are over. I say this because I discovered many things I didn’t know about my own mother until after she passed away and my sister, whose home our mother lived in during her final days, passed on a large box with some of our mother’s musings. When I started to go through those, I was astonished to find out some of the things my mother did when she was young.

For example, I discovered that, because the family was low on money to buy food (my grandfather was a drinker), my grandmother would gather what little she had left and feed her children first. Often, according to my mother’s writings, Nana would go without food to ensure that her children were fed. At the age of twelve, my mother would put on her “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes and find an Irish wake somewhere in her neighborhood. She would pose as a mourner and go through the reception line. She would tell the family she was sorry for their loss. Then she would attend what was known as an “Irish wake” for the deceased–filled with food and drink. She would bring.a large purse with her and stuff it with food so that she could bring something for her mother.

Another example: I knew that my mother and father met when my father was in the Navy. What I didn’t know until I read her notes was that she and her friend, Joyce, used to go over to the South Boston Navy Yard and watch the sailors come off their ships on leave. They would look at the cutest ones and dream about marrying one. They were sixteen or seventeen when this all began. (My mother was born in 1928.) When she was almost eighteen, she saw my father get off his ship, with his shocking red hair sticking out, and turned to Joyce. She said, “That one. He’s the one I want.” And she boldly went up and talked to him.

These are the stories that should not die when people do. They should be shared, cherished, absorbed into the very being of people so that they know who they are, how they came to be, and how strong their bonds are from the previous generations.

Right now, I’ve been trying to discover more about my Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors. According to Ancestry.com, my heritage lies in only those two backgrounds. But I don’t have enough information to find out exactly where they all came from, how they arrived in the United States, landed either in Boston (the Irish) or Southwestern Virginia.(the Scots-Irish). I wish I knew their stories.

Our children, now forty-five and forty-three, have asked us to tell them what we want to do when we pass away. Instead, I want to tell them what we did when we lived. I hope anyone who reads this will do the same, whether it’s National Tell Your Story Day or just an ordinary day.

Here’s my good friend, Canadian Connie Kaldor, singing “Sad is Your Passing,” but your living was grand.

By the way, it’s also National Pi Day (3.14–or Pi). I heard about a lot of people who were celebrating bye eating pie. The people at the radio station at which I work did that, but I missed that celebration. My favorite is apple pie. What’s yours?

7 Comments

  1. Yvette M Calliero

    I love your take on this day, Wanda! I wish my grandparents had shared more of their stories. I have told my father many times that he should write a memoir. He has lived a life of great experiences. When my son was born, I created a photo book of each year in his life with little blurbs about the events in that life. This way, he would know the moments that he would have already forgotten. I never really thought about creating stories about how different my life was from what it is today. I may just start creating little quips. Thanks, Wanda!

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂
    http://yvettemcalleiro.blogspot.com

    Reply
  2. john

    Hi Wanda. I do agree. Having parents and grandparents write their own stories would have more impact than speaking them. There’s a lot that I learned about my parents after their passing…now it’s too late to ask.

    My favorite pies are Chocolate Cream Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Apple pie with cinnamon.

    Reply
    • Wanda Fischer

      I agree with your choices of pie! I will say I favor apple pie with cinnamon, but I dole he cream pies, too.

      I wish I could have asked my mother some questions about her young years. I think it would have explained a lot about her.

      Reply
  3. Pat Garcia

    Hi, Wanda,

    It is nice that you learned a lot from your mother’s letters, but not everyone has that privilege. Some people never learned how to write or to read. Coming from the south, Black Americans didn’t go to school, and when we finally were allowed to go, we were taken out during cotton picking time. I know that from my father, who loved school but got only a third-grade education because the boss man, who was caucasian, said he was a better cotton picker.

    However, regarding your research, have you ever thought about checking out the immigration books in Boston or Virginia or wherever they were let in the country to find out what part of Ireland or Scotland they came from? I know there are lots of Scots in Augusta, Georgia.

    Just a thought that might help you get further with your research.
    Take care and all the best.
    Shalom shalom

    Reply
    • Wanda Fischer

      Your story about your father is horrible. These are also the stories that need to be told, whether you have all the details or not. Johnny Cash and his family were cotton pickers/sharecroppers in Arkansas. He was able to escape through his music. And the color of his skin. However, his first wife, who was of Italian descent, looked Mexican, and he almost lost his musical career because people thought she was African-American. How can people treat each other like this? I cannot fathom this. The first time I saw a water fountain in Bristol, Virginia, with the words “Coloreds Only” over it, I was five years old and had just started reading. I cannot sit by and watch people treat others like dirt. The movie “Cabrini,” which I saw last week, strengthened my resolve. Mother Cabrini took on the Pope, the archbishop of New York, the corrupt mayor of New York City, and helped the poor. That’s why we’re here on earth. To make sure injustice doesn’t continue. At least, that’s why I’m here.

      Reply
  4. Patty Perrin

    Hi, Wanda,

    What interesting snippets of your parents’ lives! It’s a great idea to write those portions of our lives we’d want our adult children to someday know about. My stories might be a bit psychedelic, but everything has led up to who I am today.

    I love Boston Cream Pie, if that qualifies.

    Blessings!

    Reply
  5. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    Wanda, that’s why I told my mother’s story in my published book. I wanted to remember things that I never fully knew about. My mother met my dad on a naval base in Alemeda County, California. He was in the Navy and she worked there screwing rivets into the engines of the planes on base. She used to tell us what she did but I was absorbing it on a sub conscious level because we were too young to understand it all. She was teaching us her history.

    Thank you for sharing yours.

    Reply

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