Tag Archives: Aarne’s story

Maritime Disaster: May 3, 1945

  I remember one evening when I was a teenager, although the exact occasion escapes me now, sitting around the dining room table with my family. We fell silent when my father’s voice filled the space, as he drifted into memory and then into story, as he was apt to do. He recalled a day from long ago and I wondered what had dredged up such a terrifying tale. I could see the pain on his face, hear the tremor in his voice, feel the tension in the air. My mother remained silent, her eyes cast Read more [...]

The Story of a Photograph

Last week, as I was getting ready to go to work I was listening, as usual, to Markus Schwabe on CBC Morning North, when I was struck by one of the topics of the day. Vale’s recent decision to take down the Superstack, Sudbury’s iconic landmark, reminded me of a treasured photograph of my father sitting atop the completed chimney. So, later that day I shared the picture through Facebook. The result of that quick and simple action led to a radio interview on CBC, an interview with my dad with Read more [...]

Lessons From My Father: Lesson #2

Lyrics keep floating through my head lately, reminding me that time is like a well-loved play. You don’t want it to end, but you know the curtain will eventually fall. How does that song go again? Oh yeah. “When you only got a hundred years to live.” My father turned eighty-eight last June and I turned forty-four a few months earlier. Although I’m no mathematician, something about numbers and patterns has always fascinated me, so the fact that I’m almost exactly half my father’s age Read more [...]

Reflections on a Memorable Year

A year ago, last December, I decided to pull my manuscript from the small presses I had approached earlier that spring and self-publish my father’s memoir.  Looking back, it was a decision I made because of concern for my father’s health and a desire to share his story with others while he could still participate. In fact, at the end of January, my father was hospitalized after my mother found him splayed out on their frozen driveway.  Within a few days of hospitalization, the colour returned Read more [...]

The Universe Conspires

Paulo Coelho wrote, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I always liked this idea, but I didn’t really know how it could be possible.  The whole universe? Conspiring? Really?  A month has passed since I launched my family memoir about my father’s experiences as a young Finnish sailor in a Nazi concentration camp.  Before its release on March 19, two months ago, I blogged about the process of self-publishing and all of those things I Read more [...]

My Little Book Goes to Washington

I had a full-circle moment a few days ago when I entered the industrial steel-encased elevator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  A fellow teacher and I had travelled to Washington, D.C. on a school trip with a group of twenty-four grade twelve English and Literature Studies students who were eager to explore the museum for the first time. It was our first stop. This was my third visit to the USHMM, but I was no less excited. Tucked into the pocket of my travel purse I had a copy Read more [...]

One Journey Ends and Another Begins

Spring has finally arrived, although it is difficult to tell as a layer of fine icing sugar snow fills the air and clusters on the deck outside my patio doors.  It has been a whirlwind of a week now that my book is finally published. Appropriately, I think, the official publication date was on the last day of winter.  I started self-publishing at the beginning of December and what a journey it has been!  Like waiting for spring, it took several weeks longer and was more blustery than I initially Read more [...]

We Are Our Stories

In the last six weeks or so I’ve been reminded about the importance of our individual and family stories, of recording and sharing them with our family members and friends. I count myself among the lucky who can still ask the questions, find answers, and delve deeper into my family’s past. Since December I have attended two funerals. Both individuals were parents and grandparents, dearly loved by their respective family members, friends and colleagues. Both died too young, as though there Read more [...]

Striving for Perfection While Learning to be Imperfect

Last week I was delighted to find the printed proof copy of my manuscript in the mail. When I cracked open the heavy duty cardboard packaging to reveal the book version, without the cover art, unfortunately, I was thrilled. What I didn’t expect was the anxious feeling that accompanied the excitement. This is it. This is the book. This is what I have been working for over the past three years. As I flipped through the pages, pausing to look at the pictures, the headers, the fleurons, and the fonts Read more [...]

Start Writing a Family Memoir

You’ve heard it before: everyone has a story.  I believe it’s true.  Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to share their past with family members or is willing to write their memories down for future generations.  What a lost opportunity.  A family memoir is a chance to capture a moment in history that is both important to an individual, his or her family members, and often others outside the family circle. It only requires a storyteller and a willing listener. What makes a family Read more [...]