The Legacy of Old-Fashioned Sayings . . . .
I remember standing in the kitchen while my mother was cooking. If she wanted us to pitch in and help, she’d nudge: “Make yourself useful as well as beautiful!” That meant, jump in here and start chopping!
It just made us laugh, at the time. But those words hid an important message, too: Outward beauty is fine, but don’t make outward looks your main goal in life; what’s really valuable is how useful you are to others. What an amazing life-lesson!
(Perhaps not surprisingly, all four of her daughters went on to build useful lives!)
What old-fashioned sayings did you grow up with?
Maybe just that old stand-by: “The early bird catches the worm.” Or “Clean your plate; there are starving children in the world.” Maybe it was “Rise and shine!” How about “a stitch in time saves nine”?
Those oft-repeated sayings and bits of wisdom may have sprung from your parent’s own upbringing. Rising early would have been a necessary virtue if they lived on a farm. Nipping problems in the bud (a “stitch in time”) saved pennies when funds were tight. And those simple, old-fashioned sayings may have become seeds for you, too – ideas planted long ago that would bear fruit as you grew up. (If so, there’s another great story to tell, right there!)
So that’s the focus of your Memoir Tips for this month:
Think about adding those words you heard a gazillion times as a fascinating touch of spice for your memoir. Here are a few prompts to get you thinking – and hopefully writing!
* What favorite sayings do you remember from your childhood? What were the underlying messages? And how did they affect who you became in later life? (Are you that “early bird” who still gets up early, for example? Do you still feel guilty leaving food on your plate?)
* What coping skills did your parents’ sayings represent?
* Can you still hear your dad’s voice saying “Take your hands out of your pockets” whenever there’s work to be done outside? What else did you learn from your dad about work and tools?
* What sayings do you find yourself repeating to your own kids or grandkids? Do you perhaps have a photo of the ancestor who originally said that old-fashioned saying to include in your memoir?
Just a quiet shout-out to Claire, the real-life lady behind the name, Clairitage Press. She would’ve been 93 years old this December! Hope you’ll take a sec to read her story, here.