Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pearl Harbor Day Thoughts

Photo by Sandi Blood
I stood on the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, overwhelmed with emotion and sadness for those who had died there. Like an errant seagull hitting me right between the eyes, I was struck by the realization that my own dad had been there at Hickam Field on December 7, 1941, stationed at Schofield Barracks, and I knew virtually nothing about what he had experienced that day. I thought of at least twenty questions that I would love to ask him, but it was too late. He had passed away about five years prior to my trip to Hawaii. Why had I never taken the time and interest to sit down with him and ask him everything that I would like to know about his life?

This Pearl Harbor event continued to haunt me. How could I educate others about the importance of sharing our life stories with loved ones? Extensive research brought me to Denis Ledoux and what is now known as The Memoir Network (, where I located a valuable program through which I could learn to teach others how to write their memoirs. In spite of a wildly hectic schedule including a full-time job as a lease administrator/accountant for a commercial property management firm, church volunteer, grandmother of three, officer on the board of a professional organization, a writer inching my way through the birth of my first novel, and involvement in countless activities, I didn’t hesitate to sign up for the program. I was brimming with determination to pursue this new passion.

In teaching memoir workshops, I realized that I needed to simplify the process for those who are undertaking a memoir writing project and feel hopelessly overwhelmed. 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! was published in 2012 and has guided many eager memoir writers in jump-starting and staying motivated to provide a valuable legacy for loved ones. It is a compact publication that is packed with tips, hints, a logical method, almost 150 questions for generating memories or formulating the stories, and sample stories that were written by a few lovely folks who attended my workshops.

Photo by Lesta Sue Hardee
I never cease to emphasize to anyone who will listen that once we are gone, our memoirs are unobtainable unless we have preserved them. Family history and important stories are forever lost. Our future generations need to know who we were, how we lived, what was important to us, what influenced us and how we navigated life from Point A to Point B.

That sightseeing trip to Pearl Harbor literally changed my life. The experience redirected my energy to spending my remaining productive years helping people write the times of their lives! So Pearl Harbor Day is a special reminder to me each year that honors my dad and refuels the passion. 

I'll be back again soon with more writing tidbits!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all,
Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


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