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Partners in Living Well: Making your memories your children's treasures

Fall colors, golden leaves, golden years and golden memories. The seasons trigger different urges. My husband tends to get a little melancholy in the fall, or perhaps nostalgic is a better word. He reflects on another year passing -- the youth of spring and the vigorous activity of summer as seasons of his life. Then comes this glorious array of blazing colors -- the last bold expression of life before the leaves fall and winter approaches. Isn't it the perfect time for reflecting and writing?

My grandmother kept a journal. Mostly, it helped her keep track of the weeks. She noted things such as who dropped by to see her, what kind of cakes or cookies they had with their coffee, with maybe a note about their conversation. There were no deep literary reflections, but it was a record of her meaningful moments. On several occasions, she would take out the journal she wrote during her two week trip from Norway to visit my family in Duluth. She relished her notes over and over again, reliving each encounter as she read to me.

I've started writing anecdotes about Christmas I spent as a child with my grandparents. My nieces and nephews never had a chance to know them, their habits and their cultural ways. Recollections flood over me every year when I put up my Christmas decorations and revisit the traditions that we keep. If you have the stomach for it, I may even share my notes with you, especially the story about making head cheese just like my great uncle did. I had to get that experiment out of my system and on to paper for my family's amusement that year.

At our upcoming gathering for Socially Active Seniors, Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Two Harbors Community Center, we have invited children books author, Linda Glaser, to introduce us to the world of memoir writing. She is an award winning author and has led memoir writing workshops for over 20 years. She describes them this way: "In my writing workshops, I create an atmosphere where people feel safe and motivated to express, explore, and discover more about themselves. In memoir writing, participants recall and capture rich and valuable stories.  And by sharing these stories with others, they discover and experience a deep sense of commonality. "

I believe that we all have colorful recollections as rich and wonderful as the fall leaves. Our children and grandchildren may not have the presence of mind to ask about how we experienced this or that time period

in our lives while they are busy in the present, but there will come a time when they'll want to know more about us. What a gift we can impart to them. Maybe one day that grandchild will have a great grandchild on her lap and read her a story from our pages.

Please note that the memoir writing workshop will begin at 2 p.m. with refreshments. Linda Glaser will then talk with us shortly thereafter.

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Two Harbors Public Library, we will follow up with a memoir writing workshop that is open to the public. For this event, please call Arna at (218) 525-4534 for reservations by Oct. 20.

These events are made possible through an Arts in Learning grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. Also, for more information on Linda Glaser, you can check out her website at:

I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Arna Rennan is the activity director for Socially Active Seniors in Two Harbors.