Writing Childhood Memories

Loved teaching “Food and Faith” at St. Paul and St. Andrew’s last Sunday.

I love that childhood memories are treasure troves, little magical boxes full of light. Memories point our way. Remembering where I come from reminds me of where I am going and who I am.

One exercise in my workshop was to write about a childhood memory of food that brought you closer to your family. I wrote about my Norwegian grandmother’s Christmas lunches. The open-faced sandwiches. The mutton, head cheese, slim-sliced hard-boiled eggs. The meatballs. The herring. It was the one day a year we all sat down to eat on Grandma’s enclosed porch together.

In the workshop, Barbara wrote about her father teaching her to count by planting seeds in the garden. Memories are like shoots of green. The memories are the parts of the plant that are still showing. The memories lead to an ancestry that lies buried deep in the soil, connecting us to relatives who are long gone.

Writing down the memories of family meals or family gardens takes you back and takes you deep — into the heat of a summer garden in Pennsylvania or the  bright light of Christmas in Chicago.

Writing down your memories reminds you of where you come from, who you are. Writing takes you home.

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