An old friend, Gertrude Terry, is responsible. She asked me to join a writing group in her home once a week. She had this caveat: I had to work on a memoir or I couldn’t come. Her stipulation seemed a fair exchange to enjoy her company along with the company of other writers.
I wish that I had kept a daily journal. A journal would be a ready point of reference. At 90+ years of age, I have a few notes jotted down from time to time and a couple of scrapbooks that my father pasted up with clippings of stories I covered as a journalist. But, I never kept a journal and that I regret. The downside of that negligence is that I’m stuck with mainly memory that whispers my own history back to me. The fear in such a circumstance is that I will remember nothing of importance and everything is, as Margaret Mitchell wrote, gone with the wind.
Everybody has constants as they move through life season after season, year after year, boundaries that anchor and shape thoughts and actions. A philosophy is developed by which to live, a tenacity to absorb blows, grace under pressure, forgiving in victory. When you reach 90+ years of age, as I have, you become a linchpin with the past. I remember people and events I saw as a journalist–those titans of politics and giants of business who are unknown to younger people. These recollections mean something to me, the part I played, but perhaps not to the young. They are busy accumulating memories of their own, hopefully to pass on someday.