Memories of a Happy Has-Been

Let me tell you an idea that spasmodically surfaced in my brain for years. “One day, I’m going to write a book.” Foolishly, I imagined. It probably would take two or three afternoons. A lot of afternoons and years passed when I didn’t put a single word on paper for my “masterpiece.” (Grocery lists don’t count.)

Suddenly, reality hit. Here I am, ninety-three years old, and if I seriously mean to write a book, I’d better get busy. Time is moving on!

What could I write about? Some people say it’s better to write about something you know. Well, in ninety-three years, one would have lived through a lot of our country’s history. That could be a lot of fertile ground for subject matter.

How about all the people one would have met and interacted with. There was a hitch though. Dementia was wiping out memories of the past, hard and fast. Words were slipping into oblivion and, all too often, not surfacing later. I’d better hurry and write fast.

In mentioning items to my daughters, they would say, “Mama, I didn’t know that. Put that in your book.” It would enable them to be better acquainted with people, events, and even their own mother.

I worked on and on for many, many afternoons, and months later, the last chapter was finished. Now I hope you enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it because writing it enabled me to experience these memories a second time. Truly, I’m a happy has-been.

--Martha Meeks

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