“A Lunch Box and a Life History,” Ensign, Oct. 2005, 71
For years, the thought of compiling 50 years of my life history seemed daunting—until I learned how to write brief stories about specific, cherished memories from my past.
Each memory, or vignette, takes only a few moments to write, and I don’t worry about selecting them in chronological order. I simply pick my most poignant memories and write a few descriptive paragraphs. For instance, I wrote one vignette about my father’s black lunch box, which has become a symbol to me of his hard work and love for our family. I described the special treats he used to leave for me inside it and included an old picture of us, showing the lunch box in hand. I was even able to create another special memory by sharing that vignette with my father shortly before he passed away.
I have also written a vignette about my mother’s Monday wash-day routine and am writing stories about each of my seven children and my grandchildren. Topics such as memorable birthdays, favorite holiday traditions, and early school memories could also jump-start anyone’s writing efforts.
Thanks to family history vignettes, a task that once seemed daunting is now very enjoyable for me. And the best part is that I can do a little bit at a time.
Myrna Alta Spendlove Schwieder, Ammon Seventh Ward, Ammon Idaho Foothills Stake