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Friday, 24 May 2013


By Karen Zaun Kennedy who blogs at Sweetwater Lane

“Tell me a story, Gramma,” pleads Colby, looking up at me with fluttery eyes, hands clasped tightly beneath her chin. “A really true one,” she whispers.

I know that no matter how many stories I tell to this voracious listener, she will continue to ask for more. Even as a toddler she understood the importance of story and now at seven, seems to know what I am only beginning to understand.

Sharing our stories helps us make sense of our lives and helps us understand how we become the people we are.

Writing down my own stories, I have started to see how my memories are my truth. As I search for the words to describe the richness of people and events that have been part of my life, I begin to understand the importance of the task I have given myself.

Age, values and experiences shape what we see, hear and remember thus defining our memories. When we recognize this, we can more fully appreciate how important all stories are in telling the truth.

I am realizing that stories vary depending on the point of view from which they are told. I wonder how other people’s truths differ from my own even when we have shared the same experience.

The acknowledgement that our memories are different reminds me not to judge but to try to understand.

In her pleas for more stories, Colby is asking me to share my truths, the ways I have come to understand the world. Through our shared stories and her own experiences, she will begin to develop her own way of knowing.

When I tell her stories about her daddy and he tells the same stories a bit differently, she can begin to see that individual memories influence who we are.

So, now, when I tell Colby a story and she wonders, “Is that really, really true Gramma?” I can say with confidence, “Yes, that is true.”

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Very nice piece to share..as a Nanny to six grandkids, ages 12 to 23' two girls, four boys...Five belong to my son, they live in North Carolina, at the moment big sister is in Michigan, but coming to Mass. For grad school, at least that is plan right now..one, the other girl lives right here in NYC, 16, junior in hs, looking at colleges...I agree it is important if not urgent for elders to share stories with kin..your grandkidS hear lots from their parents..I feel like the Elders owe it to family to tell their own story..My parents died when my parents were very young and then my parents died pretty young too, Father at 44, Mother only 3 years later at 47..Like many males, my Father told very little, my Mother shared more..My children didn't get to know their aunts and uncles as well as I knew mine, but that is a lot of our stories..cousins even more so..in another sign of the times..I have 22 first cousins, my parents easily had twice that number..my kids have have only 8..sharing stories adds to what your children get to know about you too..for better or for worse, I must say...hard to keep secrets when you are in a family...thanks for reminding me to keeping the history lessons coming...

Good advice to those of us who may recall well a scenario, but are a little hazy on the details. Keep on telling your truths, you say, and I agree.

We underestimate the power of storytelling both as an artform and an ability to capture our own history. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this.

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