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How to Start Writing Your Own Childhood Memories for Posterity

Writing provides me with a way to release pent-up emotions. Through poetry, I express my feelings, dreams, and gratitude.

Record family fun for posterity. Write a brief account of why the photo was taken and who is in it.

Record family fun for posterity. Write a brief account of why the photo was taken and who is in it.

Are You Recording Your History?

How much do you know about your great-grandmother and great-grandfather? Do you look like them? What about your eyes? Have you inherited the shape and color from one of them? Have you collected stories about their childhood?

Writing your childhood memories is part of your family history, building bridges and binding families together. Whether our memories are filled with joy or with sadness, these little stories become treasures to children, grandchildren and extended family. Future generations will be captivated as they are introduced to their grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle and other family members.

Writing about your childhood can also be therapeutic. It's completely free, helps to relieve depression and improve our psychological health. Sometimes we don't really know our thoughts until we write about them.

Recording your own personal history is also a great addition to genealogy. I recently just learned that my grandmother, on my mother's side, was given away at about age one or two. She spent the next 15 years in an orphanage working from sun up to sundown. She dreamed of someday getting married to a kind gentleman and having her own home.

One day she came upon a "Wanted: Nice Lady To Marry." She answered the ad and was immediately married to my tall, dark and handsome grandfather. I'm grateful to my cousin for keeping records of my grandmother's life experiences. Your family will one day feel the same way.

Ideas to Help You Get Started Writing

One way that inspires me to begin writing my childhood stories is by looking at old photos of my family. The minute I see a particular photo, a picture of the experience that promoted the taking of that photo will play in my mind. That is the time I begin to write down every detail that I can remember.

Then something wonderful happens. The more I write, the more I remember. Before long I am recording a piece of my life history. You may find some of the following ideas helpful in starting to write your childhood memories:

  • Remember the school days. Did you have a favorite teacher? What made her special?
  • Who was your very best friend?
  • How did you get to school?
  • What fun and outrageous activities did your family do?
  • Write about your first prom or graduation.
  • Write about your favorite grandma/grandpa.
  • What special trips did you take?
  • Write about your best Christmas.
  • Who was your first love or who gave you the first kiss?
  • Describe the home you grew up in. If you lived in different places explain why you moved.
  • What was your favorite game growing up?
  • What was your favorite movie?
  • Who taught you how to cook or bake your favorite cookies?

You get the idea. Once you start, you will find it hard to stop writing your life stories.

Vintage Photos Bring Stories to Life

Include vintage photos with your stories of childhood experiences.

Include vintage photos with your stories of childhood experiences.

2 Helpful Tips for Recording Your Personal History

  1. Write as many details as you can remember. Make your story as truthful and honest as possible without adding embellishments.
  2. Provide background, but keep it brief. Don't go on and on and on. You don't want to lose your reader. As you write, leave an element of mystery now and then. This will entice the reader to stay with you.

Here is an example of one of my own childhood memories recorded as poetry. The introduction to my poem adds additional, interesting information. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it will help to get you started.

Introduction: The Little House That Daddy Built

Times were tough, not only for our family but for most of the country. Jobs were hard to come by and at times so was food. I still can't imagine how our parents managed to clothe and feed three children (and for a period of time, six children), with very little money. Mama was magical with what she had to work with in terms of food. She could take a can-of-this and a little-of-that and make a meal that smelled like heaven and was downright delicious.

Daddy looked everywhere for work. We had no car and no bicycle for transportation. Daddy found an old worn-out pair of roller skates (the kind that attached to the shoe) and would skate for miles, hoping to find a job. Any kind of job. He would be gone from sun-up to sun-down day after day.

Finally, daddy found a job with a lumber company. Things were looking up. And to make things even better, our parents found a small piece of property, and daddy was going to build us a house. The question now was, where were the materials coming from and how could daddy build a house when he had no experience?

Well, he had always had a gift for building things and if there's a will . . . there's a way. Nothing would stop this man once his mind was made up. And as far as the lumber was concerned, that problem was taken care of too. His boss at the lumber yard said he could have all the scraps and pieces of lumber that he wanted. And every day, he would sift through the scrap pile gathering up what he needed.

The little house was about to take form. It would have a living room, kitchen, and one bedroom. The bathroom would have to wait. Meanwhile, a bare path leading from the house to the "out-house" would have to do.

The Little House That Daddy Built


The Little House That Daddy Built

When I was 6 years old

Heated by our kitchen stove

When winter left us cold…


My brother and my sister

Both shared a bed with me

We only had one bedroom

Hardly room enough for three…


The little house was drafty

The cold air seeping in

Our little eyes were stuck like glue

Before the day began…


But with a nice warm washcloth

To place upon our eyes

Our lashes clean so we could see

another sun arise


The one and only bathroom

To be shared by one and all

“Please hurry up and let me in “

And banging on the wall’


The living room was kind of small

But it seemed big back then

Plenty of room to play some cards

Which we did, again and again


We had an old piano

Much to my delight

And it became a part of me

I played it day and night


It fed my soul it dried my tears

And filled an inner need

Like sunshine to a flower

And water to a seed


But soon the piano was replaced

with a new tv

I was broken-hearted

They took my friend from me


The little house that daddy built

Spin memories galore

Some I treasure more than life

And some, I just ignore


My life was formed within those walls

Just like a patchwork quilt

It made me what I am today

The house my daddy built

Take a Laugh Break (Very Funny Video)

Final Thoughts

You are the best person to write your memories. After all, you were there. You are the only person who can preserve your life through writing. You will be helping your children, grandchildren and other family members to see your own parents, grandparents and other family members. Be sure to share your stories and information. No matter what you write, it will be a compelling read for your family. Because you have recorded it, your family story will live on.

Our ancestors are not gone from our lives. When we tell their stories we bring them forward and breathe life into the developing form of future generations. We must know our history.

For you with young families, make it a priority to keep a daily journal. Jot down cute experiences about your children, their growth, humorous activities, their friends and school days. Write about birthday parties, Christmas, Easter, and all family celebrations.

My grandchildren, now young adults, have taken a sudden interest in their heritage. They hunger for stories and photos about grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts as well as information about their parents. You are creating a path into the past for generations to come. Only you can do this.

We are all tied to a lineage of love that has existed since the beginning of time.

© 2011 Audrey Hunt

Comments

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on October 18, 2019:

Gather all the information available and begin by documenting dates and photos. Follow by recording all events and you can also visit ancestory.com to start your family tree.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on August 08, 2018:

Himadri

Thank you for being here and for appreciating my poem. Take care.

Himadri on August 02, 2018:

Heart touching poem

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 03, 2017:

Robert

Welcome! So glad to see you here. To answer your question (and it's a very good one) absolutely yes. I only wish I would have kept a journal of my memories when I was young. Time has a way of putting distance between the years. So start now. And add photos when you can.

Thanks Robert for your comments and great question.

Audrey

Robert on May 03, 2017:

Hey im just a random 16y/o guy who is thinking about the future and i would like to ask a mature person,is it worth writing things down when im at this age,i feel like i dont want to forget all my childhood memories that made my life like it is,i feel like when i will have 40-60yrs i want to sit back and rewatch all the funny movies i used to watch,all series with my kids(hopefully if i will have them) learn them what series learned me about lifes,friends etc.. sorry for this long text and my bad grammar.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 10, 2016:

What a beautiful memory you have shared Audrey. I enjoyed reading it including the poem. Sorry you lost your piano. Thanks for sharing this hub.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on March 24, 2014:

Vellur - Our little house was very humble but oh, the love that went into that house. And yes, we thought it to be a castle! Thank you my friend ~ Audrey

tlpoague - Your stories about "Big Nam" must have been amazing. They don't make 'em like our fathers anymore :) So happy to see you here and to read your wonderful comments.

Dear Audrey - Thank you sweet lady for taking time to read my hub and leave me such a warm-hearted message. You are so kind to pin this. And I appreciate the blessings. I need all I can get right now. As beautiful as life is, it can dish out the stress now and then :) ~ Audrey

Eiddwen - Hello dear friend. I always light up and my entire being smiles when I see you have dropped by. Hope everything is going just great in Wales. Love to you dear Eddy ~ Audrey

Eiddwen from Wales on March 17, 2014:

Wow Audrey what a great read as always. Loved this great read and voting up for sure. Here's to wishing you a great day to come..

Lots of love from Wales.

Eddy.

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on March 16, 2014:

Hi Audrey. Wow, you did it again with prose/poetry. I was checking your rhyme, and it flows so gently. You picked a good topic for readers, as childhood memories are so much fun. Swinging is one favorite among many others. I think you deserve a prize too. Pinning. Blessings. Audrey

Tammy from USA on March 16, 2014:

What a beautiful poem! I felt as if I were there. I have enjoyed logging many stories about my family. I don't have it posted here anymore, but had started a series called Big Nam. It was about my dad and his many adventures with him and our family.

I imagine your family is just as grateful that you are preserving the memories of your own childhood for them to enjoy years from now. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips and your wonderful poem.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 16, 2014:

A beautiful poem that touched my heart. Your father must have built the best house in the world!! Great poem, voted way up.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

Jackie Lynnley - Wow, thank you! Your words mean so much. And the fact that you would give me a prize for this is the best prize of all! Thanks for the vote up and for sharing!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 25, 2013:

I really enjoyed that, and think it was very very good! I wanted more story and your poem told so much. I would award you a prize if I could! So I will just vote up and share.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on October 19, 2012:

Sallys Trove - Thank you for the most beautiful comment! I feel so good to know that you enjoyed my hub and the video's. Come back and see me again soon:)

Maggs224 - "Nostalgia at its finest." I'm so touched after reading your comments. Somehow, you've helped me realize the importance of writing about childhood memories. I thank you for that and for the generous ratings . Very nice!

evelynsaenz - I agree with you, that a house needs a piano. Yes, those were tough times, but somehow we all managed and became the better for it. So glad you took the time to comment. Thank you!

ahorseback on October 19, 2012:

Vocalcoach ,I know that we all forget the bad and cherish the good memories and that's okay with me . The memories you share are very much like my own , and yet would I change anything about OUR upbringing .....NOT! .....No , I wouldn't and neither would you !......so many sweet and perfect memories made out of one ingredient , love !......:-} ++++

Godzangel from Syracuse, NY on October 18, 2012:

BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Audrey Howitt from California on October 18, 2012:

Beautiful write Audrey! I had an old upright that lived in a hallway when I was young---

moonlake from America on August 29, 2012:

Beautiful. Enjoyed reading it and enjoyed your videos. Voted uP.

Mary Craig from New York on August 29, 2012:

It is hard to comment on something so beautiful and heartfelt...it is beautiful too. What an incredible journey your life has been!

Voted up, awesome, and beautiful and shared with my followers!

Sunnie Day on August 24, 2012:

This was so touching. I bet that little house was filled with such warmth and love. Thank you for sharing this precious story and poem.

Sueswan on August 23, 2012:

Hi Audrey,

My life was formed within those walls

"Just like a patchwork quilt

It made me what I am today

The house my daddy built"

Beautiful and precious memories.

Audrey, thank you so much for sharing your childhood memories.

I enjoyed both videos but the second one was hilarious.

Voted up across the board!

Take care :)

Rich from Kentucky on August 23, 2012:

I actually read this yesterday and can't figure out why I didn't post. Hubpages zone out, I guess.

It's amazing what a person can do when they put their mind to it. Just to be able to plan ahead and see the value and placement of each piece of lumber is a tremendous vision, little lone actually doing it! A great tribute and poem to a great man! Exceptional!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on August 23, 2012:

KDuBarry03 - You have shared your own emotion along with mine through my little humble poem. Brings tears to my eyes. I love hubpages for allowing me the courage to write about this part of my life for the first time. Thank you.

ajmoon - It wasn't until I became a writer that I have revisited my childhood. It feels good. Thank you ajmoon (aj are my initials - do we share a connection somehow?) Many thanks.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 23, 2012:

Wow! Your little house reminds me of the one I grew up in way out in the country. You were very rich and probably didn't even know it, right? Beautiful Hub.

shruti sheshadri from Bangalore, India on August 22, 2012:

Beautiful! There is so much pain and suffering yet you have managed to capture the bright side of it! that has given a totally new twist to the poem... wonderful!

Take care :)

Dianna Mendez on August 22, 2012:

Lovely! I enjoyed the background on this poem and the poem itself. I can relate to the piano verse. I can still see our old piano in the home -- learned to play it well. The last video is a real hoot!

Evelyn Saenz from Vermont on August 22, 2012:

Times can be very tough when Daddy can find a job. My parents grew up in the 1930's and taught my sister and I to live with that in mind. We too had a piano. The TV came much later for us as well. I don't play my piano as often as I should but a house without a piano just doesn't seem like a home.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on August 22, 2012:

Jools99 - Isn't it the truth though? Most people would laugh at the very idea of "roller-skating" to find work and food. I give my father credit for his strong will and perseverence. The 1930's were a tough time. And I thank you for realizing how those times shaped who I am today. I will always love and be thankful for music, particularly the piano. Thank you for your votes my friend and take care.

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on August 22, 2012:

What a fabulous hub, I loved every part of it the story, the videos, the fact it was true, and last but by no means least that wonderful poem that captured it all.

Nostalgia at its finest, voting up, and hitting buttons as I go, it was a delightful visit thank you so much for sharing, it truly touched me.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 22, 2012:

I'm so glad I found this today, part of the "childhood memories" theme. It's got everything! A tantalizing sip of memoir, a poignant and rhythmic beat in the middle, and that last hilarious video. So, I thought, I sang, I laughed. All is good. Thanks for adding a breath of fresh air to my day. :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on August 22, 2012:

iamaudraleigh - I laughed so darn hard at the Younce video. I was doing some research for this article on you tube when I came across it. Just had to post it. I appreciate your comments about my hard working father. Bless his heart!

Sunshine625 - Thanks Linda. Children are so resilient. I love your comment.!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 21, 2012:

iamaudraleigh - George Younce! Thanks so much for researching this. I didn't know who he was, I just loved the video:) I'm so glad you liked my story. My father was the most positive, resourceful person I ever knew. Take care my friend.

sunshine625 - Awwwwwwe, gee Linda - thank you. You make me feel so good. I'm glad I shared this big part of my life at long last.

Jools99 - How insightful you are. I'm touched and happy at the same time. Little did I know that those hard times were forming who I am today. We don't realize that our childhood experiences are forming the people we will one day become. I always learn an important lesson from you Jools. I am thankful for that.

ajmoon on July 21, 2012:

What an awesome little poem, Audrey! I love it when we remember the bits of our childhoods that influence who we are now....voted up and awesome!

KDuBarry03 on July 21, 2012:

Oh wow, the emotions and the emotional intensity in this poem is overwhelming. I could picture a self-built house and you just playing the piano at a young age. This is a very touching story. This definitely makes you the strong and great person you are today.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on July 21, 2012:

Lovely hub, really wonderful and your memories really came through here Audrey. I can see your dad on his roller-skates, how many of my generation would do something like that in the search for work? And you're right of course, your mam and dad's influence and your environment have a huge impact on who you are now - the piano playing was a key part of your upbringing and music is still a huge part of your life.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2012:

Awww thank you for sharing part of your journey on how you became the beautiful person you are:)

iamaudraleigh on July 21, 2012:

I had to look up who sang on that scond video...hillerious! George Younce was so funny!

What a great poem in tribute to your father! H was a har working man! It is amazing how he strived to do that for his family! Just wonderful!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on October 12, 2011:

breakfastpop - Well, there's no one I would like to have more than you, in my life. Love your comment and I thank you so much.

macteacher on September 26, 2011:

room. She never played it for me. I only found out later that she was an accomplished singer and player. Oh how I wish I could go back and have her play that piano and sing to me. Your hub that described your memories in the local movie theatre also brought back great memories of my youth. I am so glad that you feel the same way that I do about the wonderful times of your youth. You are so right..times were simple and wonderful back then. Keep on writing and I'll be here reading everything that you write.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on September 21, 2011:

Beautiful poem, Audrey. You've said it so well. I loved the videos, LOL Your father was a resourceful man and reminded me of my own dad. :)

Eiddwen from Wales on September 21, 2011:

Hi Audrey,

I loved this read plus video clips,as always told in your own special natural style which has endeared so many to you.

Thank you somuch for sharing another gem on here.

Take care my friend.

Eiddwen.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on September 20, 2011:

mckbirdbks - So true...that old piano will always be with me and thanks for that reminder.

fennelseed - Thank you for your appreciation of my poem and for all the amazing people who survived those hard years. You sure didn't see much "whining" going on back then. They just did what they had to do and were the better for it. I love your vote and ratings!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on September 20, 2011:

Pamela - Your comments have touched me so. Writing about true life is not easy for me, so I really love what you have said. Thank you, so very much.

drbj - Yes, my father was s special man. He loved everyone. His life was very hard. So happy that you liked this. And Jerry Lewis has always held a special place in my heart.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 20, 2011:

Your dad was very special, Audrey, and so is your lovely poem. Thanks, too, for the Martin and Lewis rendition. They were hilarious together!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 20, 2011:

Hubs about true life are always the best. I loved you poem and am sorry you lost your piano. This is an awesome hub.

breakfastpop on September 19, 2011:

Thank you for letting me into your life. It's a privilege.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on September 19, 2011:

Thank you for sharing your childhood experiences. A wonderful read.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 18, 2011:

This was a very touching hub, especially the part about how the piano was a part of you and fed your very soul. It must have been hard to have it replaced by a TV, but it seems it was never gone from your heart.

The poem was also touching.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on September 18, 2011:

writer20 - Even 'tho I lost my piano, I continued to practice and play on the one at church. :) I am determined, if nothing else! Thank you so much.

Hello Willstarr - Those were the days! In spite of circumstances, I think we were were fortunate to be born in times where values and honor were just part of living.

Thanks for enjoying the videos too. Take care, my friend

RNSMN - I love your words about the piano " you carry it in your heart." True...oh so true. A beautiful thing to point out to me. For me, focusing on the good that came out of my past, overshadows the heart-breaking, abuse that took place. Maybe,you can try that too. We have a choice about what we feed into our minds. Hey - that would make a good hub :)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 18, 2011:

I just truly loved this story. What a wonderful Daddy you had. I was poor as a child, but it made me grateful for many things that other children took for granted. Your poetry is beautiful. Thank you for sharing memories.....

SusieQ42 on September 18, 2011:

You are a true poet, Vocalcoach! I remember those days too! We gathered around that old kitchen wood stove to stay warm. Wonderful simple times, they surely were! There was no keeping up with the Joneses because there weren't too many around to keep up with! Thank you for sharing!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on September 18, 2011:

Oh Audrey, I just loved this story and the poem.

What a shame you lost your piano, that was so sad.

Thank you for sharing this, wonderful and voting up.

Cloverleaf from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 18, 2011:

Hi vocalcoach, no need to apologize for quality! When you have such special photos as these they are precious no matter what. Thanks for sharing these memories with us, voting up! Keep on writing!

Cloverleaf

annmackiemiller from Bingley Yorkshire England on September 18, 2011:

thank you for sharing this, it was very touching

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on September 18, 2011:

Very nicely done hub, with your combination of prose and poetry. I remember some hard times, and I remember a couple things that I lost like you lost your piano, a small rocking chair and a shetland pony. Those times do stay with us and become a paart of who we are indeed.

Charlotte B Plum on September 18, 2011:

i love your poems, especially the rhymes. Love readings stories like this, they are so precious and give such a rare glimpse into what life was like when I wasn't born yet. Thank you for sharing this with us, and I hope you write more!

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on September 18, 2011:

So many of our fathers seemed fearless and just did what they had to do. I read about the sod houses on the prairie during the settlement of the west and how the men worked so hard. Many still do. What a lovely tale full of love and inspiration. sigh

Annie Fenn from Australia on September 17, 2011:

A wonderful story, vocalcoach. I have so much respect for your father and others of that time who were so spirited and incrediably resourceful - the true characters of our time and beyond. You have such amazing memories of your house and the determination of your parents to create this loving home, against the odds. A lovely hub and my votes to you.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on September 17, 2011:

Thanks for sharing such special memories with us. That piano never left, you carry it in your heart. That's a good thing, it would be bad for your back otherwise.

Barbara Bethard from Tucson, Az on September 17, 2011:

this old laptop is so frustrating! I cant see the videos! I have to go get on hubbys and see if his is any better :) touching story! I like the some I just ignore part...that's a lesson I am trying hard to learn these days!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on September 17, 2011:

I remember life like that, and I loved it. This brings back great memories!

I loved the Martin/Lewis skit and that second video is hilarious! Who was that?

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on September 17, 2011:

I enjoyed reading this story, I'm sorry to read you lost your piano. voted up