A great way to help you write about your life is to talk about the places where you lived. We can all remember details about the towns, neighborhoods and houses where we have lived our lives. These memories can help us with details which make our stories that much more interesting.
Organize Your Life through Where you lived!
List each place you lived
Write down the addresses and find photos (if you have them) of the houses you lived in. Write the details about the house — the size, number of rooms, yard, garage, where you slept, did the house have AC, and what was the heating system like. I remember the house I grew up in had radiators. They were wonderful and provided such a warm, cozy heat in the wintertime. Did you share a room (or bed) with a brother or sister? How about the bathrooms — how many in the house and how did you share?
As you grew up, you may have moved — maybe many times, because your father had different jobs or was transfered to different locations. Do you know what your father did for a living? As you think of each place you lived, this can be a memory aid to remembering other details of your past.
Using the houses you lived in, describe holidays in each of these homes. Thinking of each house will enable you to think back on holidays. Did your mother prepare a big Thanksgiving meal in your house or did you go to the home of other relatives? Describe the kitchen in these houses. Were they the gathering place for your family?Memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas are intertwined with the homes we lived in.
Create a timeline with the periods of time you lived in each location
This timeline will cover your entire life, which you can use to help fill in other important events. As you create your timeline, add in other important national and international events. The timeline will help you to remember events that were taking place around you and where you may have been living or what you may have been doing. For example, discuss how the JFK assassination affected you. How old were you and what were you doing when you heard about it. My wife can vividly remember the living room of her house and the sounds and sights from the TV there etching the events of that time in her mind.
Describe the fifties, sixties, seventies, etc. Where were you living? In the sixties I almost went to Woodstock — I only lived two hours from Woodstock, so that made a lasting impression on me.
Be sure to write on your timeline what schools you attended, and then describe the buildings and where your classrooms were located. Did you take a lunch, eat in a cafeteria or go home for lunch. What were your favorite subjects and teachers — or your least favorites. Did you walk to school or take a bus. Who were your friends, what were they like, and how did you spend your time after school. Write about each of these events. This will trigger other memories and before long you will be well on your way in writing your life’s story.