“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing,”
George Bernard Shaw
How do you find out who you used to be and how you got to be who you are? Why listen to the little voice that tells you, “this part is interesting–pay attention!”
What is your story?
Perhaps your story is for your great grandchildren, or maybe it’s just for you, to read your life the one and only one you own, on clean white paper. It may make you smile, or cry or jump out and shout, “when did all this happen, and how did I remember it all?”
Nancy Kessler is a writer of memoirs.
She started her company Memoirs Plus this year to assist in telling life’s stories.
Kessler grew up in South Orange, New Jersey and clearly remembers Mrs. Blanchet, her neighbor. “She was well into her 80’s at the time and she used to give all the neighborhood kids butterscotch candies right before dinnertime,” Kessler remembered. “I used to sit and listen to Mrs. Blanche’s stories for hours.”
Kessler graduated Skidmore and went on to study at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, one of only two programs in the country located on a museum campus rather than a university campus, where students study how to be a museum professional. Upon graduating Kessler worked at the Museum Of The City Of New York. She stayed seven years and moved on to work for “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz the Commissioner of Transportation.
“I knew I wanted to go back and work with Seniors,” she said. “As much as I loved the museum and Mr. Schwartz, my heart was calling me back to a different place in time.”
Kessler went on to become the Program Director at Atria a senior living community in Rye Brook. “I think I have always had three loves — history, art and stories from the elders.” she laughed.
Kessler spends a good deal of time with the person she is helping write their memoir and sits with family members as well. What she gives back is a completely bound book with a story and photos provided by the family. The whole process takes a few months.
Kessler’s Mom, an extremely active 80 something — and whose memoir Kessler is also writing — always loved museums and now volunteers at a museum. When I asked if that was where Kessler found her passion as a young person she said, “No, she has always loved history as well, but I think she copied me!”