How to use the blog

Welcome to the Essentials of Memoir Writing course blog!

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Lesson 7 – Writing About People

My Least Favorite Teacher

In my fourth year in high school in England, approximating to the U.S. 10th grade, my teacher was a priest known as Father Brendan. From his students of an earlier year, he had been awarded the nickname “Gobbo.” Somewhere in his mid to late 50s, Gobbo sported thinning hair, a large mouth with protruding teeth. When speaking to the class, especially if raising his voice for emphasis or attention, a mist of spittle would emanate from his mouth, dousing the boys seated at the front of the class. Although unfortunate and somewhat unsavory, spittle alone was not the root cause of my dislike for this man.

Gobbo was first and foremost an English teacher and had been for many years. His knowledge of the language and its grammar had been learned in the closeted environs of the priesthood. Over time he developed the sincere belief that he was right. Implying that the rest of the world, including his students, were invariably wrong.

Being a Catholic School within a dozen miles or so of a U.S. Airforce base, there were usually two or three sons of American service families in each class. Ours being no exception. Gobbo took seemingly great pleasure in pointing out at length the inferiority of English usage by our U.S. cousins. Their spelling was wrong, their usage was incorrect, and their word use left much to be desired.  Why did Gobbo do that? He took obvious pleasure in telling anyone, in this case, a couple of American lads, how stupid they were. And indeed, how witless their entire country was. By this time, rock and roll had arrived and was obviously here to stay. Consequently, the sympathies of the students leaned heavily towards the Americans. Gobbo earned no friends.

It could be considered an equalizer that Gobbo was equally dismissive of the English boys. Attempts to show initiative were often branded insolence and punished with a well worn and over-used cane. Condescension, arrogance, and ignorance were the untaught lessons we all learned from Gobbo. Fortunately, most of the boys declined such obnoxious skills when moving on to the fifth year. Leaving Gobbo to attempt to impose his seedy, self-serving will on the next batch of unsuspecting fourth years.

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Lesson 6 – Voice and Perspective

Lying awake in my bed, I could still hear the muffled voices of the others downstairs. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but from the tone and pitch of their voices, I sometimes knew who was speaking. The reverberation of my father’s voice. The higher-pitched sound of my Mother’s responses and the occasional interjections of my brothers and sister.  I watched the headlights of the rare vehicle driving down the road outside my window. The lights illuminated the ceiling with a sweeping light as they drove by. Soon, sleep overtook me, and I fell into a light slumber.

Maybe an hour later, I woke from a dream. I had dreamt about the fearsome black and tan colored large dog that lived nearby.  Each time I had walked past the house where the dog apparently lived, it would run at me behind the garden fence, barking ferociously at me. I no longer heard the comforting sound of voices downstairs. I felt the dog in my room, waiting, with a low growl before barking at me. If the dog is here in my room, then who else? What else was there to do me immeasurable harm?

I became frightened. The drapes shifted gently in the soft breeze from the open window. The open window! It let the car headlights in – what else had it let in while I was sleeping? Alone in the darkness, the thought of a roomful of vicious monsters terrified me. I buried myself under the covers to hide from the unknown terrors surrounding me. I cried out for someone to come help me, but the sound of my voice was muffled by the bedding. My cries turned to shouts, and soon my shouts to screams.

At last, the covers were pulled back, revealing my father, kneeling beside me. He spoke softly and comfortingly, gently stroking my head. I soon saw that the black and tan dog and his terrifying accomplices had disappeared. I was alone and safe with only my father in the room. The stroking made me drowsy until I fell asleep and alone in my room, I slept safely until morning.

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Lesson 5 – Using Scenes

Opening in 1937, the Granada cinema located in the northwest London suburb of Harrow, epitomized the height of the “golden age” of cinema design and technology. The work of Russian theater designer and production director Theodore Komisarjevsky, the Granada seated an audience of 2,300 on two levels. The interior décor was palatial, as was a trend in cinema architecture. A stage and orchestra pit with a Wurlitzer organ fronted the ornate proscenium. Backstage were four dressing rooms, little used until the late 1950s when Granada management recognized the earning potential of touring “pop music shows.”

My mother became a cashier at the Granada in the mid-1950s. I started as a part-time usher in 1963, working weekends to supplement my earnings. By this time, the “pop music shows” were coming on thick and fast. The format consisted of a headline star with as many as six supporting acts and usually two shows each evening. Although I was on the weekend shift, all Granada staff were called in to work the shows, which generally took place on a weekday. Before working there, I recall seeing acts such as Cliff Richard, Adam Faith, Gene Vincent, Conway Twitty, Roy Orbison, and many, many more.

Monday, January 6th, 1964, was the advertised date for another “pop music show.” This one intrigued me. The headliner was an American girl trio, The Ronettes, who currently had a major transatlantic hit with “Be My Baby.” Opening for them was a band I saw as aggressive, raw, and pugnacious looking. I was not at all sure if I liked them or their music but was nevertheless intrigued. They were called “The Rolling Stones.” This evening was to be the start of their first-ever nationwide tour.

I had worked a few shows and always managed to somehow contrive to get backstage to at least encounter, if not meet, the artists. When I showed up to work the Ronettes and Stones show, the Granada manager, a Mr. Wescott, asked a favor of me. “Butler! You have a brass neck,” he said. “Yes sir?” I replied, not really knowing where he was going with this. “My daughter wants autographs from those scruffy yobs called the Rolling Stones. Would you go backstage and get them for me? Especially that singer chap, is it Jagger or something? My daughter likes him, god knows why.”

So, I would get to be backstage, not by some flimsy, contrived excuse, but on the order of the cinema manager. The chief of staff who typically assigns ushers to specific duty and location for each event merely asked me to let him know whenever I got the autographs. This allowed me free rein to hang out backstage with a cast-iron excuse for as long as I could string it out.

The four dressing rooms were located up two flights of stairs, along a corridor that ran the width of the stage. Two of the rooms were small, and the other two were larger. They were all recently painted a uniform light grey with a white and yellow fleck effect. On show nights, dressing rooms were usually open, and the corridor a throng of socializing entertainers, agitated managers, and some hangers-on. This night was no different. The door to the first dressing room, one of the larger ones, was open. Inside was a sight, the like of which I had never seen before. Three stunningly beautiful black American girls in their stage costumes and make-up were seated and casually chatting. Their shining black hair was piled up at what looked to me about a foot high in beehive style, as was the vogue at the time. It was the lovely and talented ladies from Spanish Harlem, The Ronettes. One of them smiled at me. Maybe she smiled at everyone, I didn’t care and counted it as definitely meant for me and me only.

Further down the corridor, in the other larger room, I found the Rolling Stones, a different story. All five were there, plus their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, and keyboard player, Ian Stuart. All of them were lounging or pacing and engaged in a highly animated discussion I didn’t at first follow, except it was connected to possible recordings and a setlist. Far from “stage costumes,” except for Charlie, they looked as if they had all just returned from working a shift at a local factory. “Surely they won’t go on stage like that,” I mused to myself as they continued their vociferous debate, accompanied by the quaffing of white wine. I must have stood there listening and observing for maybe 20 minutes, totally enjoying the banter, before anyone finally asked me why I was there.

Eventually, got the needed autographs as the Stones headed downstairs to go on stage. Mick pulled a grotesque face as he passed by on his way and asked me, jokingly, if I wanted a photograph. I followed them down but continued below stage level to the basement entrance to the orchestra pit. I had found this to be an excellent spot for watching a show. The all-black walls and floor rendered an occupant pretty much invisible from either stage or audience while providing a unique and intimate view of whoever was performing. After “I wanna be your man,” “Roll over Beethoven,” and a couple of other numbers, all there was time for is such a package show; I became a fan, and remain one to this day.

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Lesson 3 – Memories from a photograph

I see my sister sitting on the edge of the jacuzzi in the Houston sunshine dangling her feet in the warm, bubbling water. She is surrounded by friends, everyone is laughing. From their expressions, they are laughing out loud, almost uncontrollably, they are all happy. They are very happy. My sister, Jo, has come from England to stay with me for three weeks in my Houston, Texas apartment.

I am pleased she is there. It pleases me that she is laughing so much. Her life in recent years has been challenging and brought her little joy. Her first husband and father of her two children proved to be a loser, funny and personable in company but a pathetic and incompetent provider for his family. She divorced him. She had the happiest nine years of her life in a subsequent marriage until her husband suffered a lingering illness and death from throat cancer. The few years since his passing, Jo had been alone and generally unhappy.

Now here she was with me in Houston. Enjoying the company of all my friends, male and female. She came determined to take advantage of whatever opportunity came her way and was doing it in spades! Astros games, country bars, rock concerts, cruising the Galleria, and more, she was doing it all on her first-ever trip to the U.S.A. She was, at last, having genuine fun.

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Lesson 2 – A Conversation which made and impact on my life

Recently promoted to middle management in my company, I was delighted and excited when told I had been enrolled in a management course at business school. The three-week program was to be residential at Ashridge Management College in November. Set in 190 acres of English countryside a little way north of London, Ashridge was located in a former residence of Henry VIII with extensive subsequent neo-gothic additions.

One Sunday, mid-afternoon, I headed to Ashridge. I was excited by the prospect of the program I would attend, the “Younger Managers” program. I was also looking forward to Ashridge itself and all it had to offer. With hindsight, I can see the building has some resemblance to the latter day, “Hogwarts.”

Although excited and motivated by three weeks at Ashridge, other aspects of life were not quite so hunky-dory. My marriage to Kayla definitely seemed to be experiencing a very spotty patch. She had become more distant and less engaged over the past few months. Hang-up phone calls didn’t help. And taking a week’s vacation on her own in Sardinia was out of character. She usually didn’t enjoy being on her own anywhere, and especially in a foreign country. I tried to keep all of these things out of my mind. I focussed on what had become a very demanding management position in the technology company for which I worked.

Even so, the hour-long drive to Ashridge on a dark and bleak November Sunday afternoon brought on feelings of emptiness, doubt, and mistrust. On the journey, I thought of Kayla and how remote she was becoming. I thought of her two children from her previous marriage, Natasha and Austin, Now in their mid-teens, I had been a father figure to them since pre-school age. And of course, I thought of our daughter, Rhonda, who had just turned five.

Once I arrived and settled into my assigned room, I called home. Austin answered the phone. He told me his mother wasn’t there and he didn’t know where she was or when she would be home. “So who’s looking after you all?” I asked. “Carol, the baby sitter will be here soon.” “OK, tell mom I called and that I arrived safely.” Similar phone conversations happened each evening, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They all garnered the same responses from Austin, “she’s not here, I don’t know where she is. And I don’t know when she will be back.”

Finally, on Thursday evening, my wife, Kayla, answered the phone.

“There you are at last. I called you every evening since Sunday, and every time, Austin told me you weren’t home. When I asked him where you were or when you were coming home, and he said he didn’t know. Where have you been, and what have you been doing since last Sunday when I left?”

“I’ve just been swamped this week, had a lot to take care of lately,” said Kayla sounding offended at being questioned regarding her whereabouts the last three days.

“Take care of? Take care of what? What in the world takes you out of the house for three consecutive evenings? What’s going on, Kayla?”

“Would you, would you?” Kayla hesitated for a moment.

“Would I what?” I demanded a little impatiently.

“Would you let me go?” She said, her voice unsure and wavering.

“Let you go! Let you go with who?”

“With Giles. I’m sorry, but I am in love with him, and I don’t think I can change that. We want to be together, and to be honest, I really didn’t think you would care very much – if at all.”

“What about the kids, Natasha and Austin, and then Rhonda – she’s only five. What are we supposed to do about them in all this? Have you thought about that?”

“Of course I have. Giles will have to understand that you and I will still have joint responsibility for the kids, especially Rhonda. He’ll have to get used to it.”

“Kayla, this is what I think right now. My goal is to keep you and stay with you, my wife, and keep our family together. But if eventually, if you still want to be with Giles, then so be it.”

“Thank you,” said Kayla. “I don’t want to have to run away with Giles, but I’m prepared to if I have to.”

“OK, Kayla, we can leave this for now. I’m here at management college for another two weeks. When I come home, we can talk again.”

“Yes, we will. See you in two weeks.” Kayla hung up. I walked through the lobby, thinking about the implications of my conversation with Kayla. Not a lot of good news there, pretty much all bad news, really. There was, however, one small light on the distant horizon. But it would almost certainly be a harrowing journey to be approached with trepidation.

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Lesson 4 – Conflict

Growing up in a catholic family and attending a catholic school, I never saw, let alone read, a bible – “The Bible.” The content was read to us and interpreted by priests. When I was 11, my parents sent me to a state school for a year. The first act of the “Religious Knowledge” teacher was to hand every student a copy of the new testament. The book was pocket size with red binding. In retrospect, it looked much like the not yet published “little red book.” By Chairman Mao. But it read very differently.

My family was active in the local catholic parish, my Father and brothers serving on the altar, and my Mother arranging church flowers. Our Sunday family lunches were usually a discussion and critique of who did what at mass that morning.  I served as an altar boy for a few years until the choirmaster figured I could hold a tune and conscripted me into the choir.

As time passed, my knowledge of catholic liturgy and services increased. As I grew into my mid-teens, I began to feel something was missing. My practice of religion was technically correct. I was singing in tune and mainly by heart. I showed up every Sunday and catholic holidays as was my duty.  I enjoyed church outings and other social events. Over time I began to realize what was missing, faith.

My church-related activities were indeed, “duty” and no more. This realization, dawning over the course of a couple of years, caused me to begin to question more and more about the catholic church. I struggled with the teaching that Catholicism was the only true religion. Teaching that even other Christian sects would be prevented from entering heaven. As for religion other than Christian, well, they were pretty much Satan’s fodder. At my Catholic school, priests taught about other faiths. Not objectively but to make them sound laughable and pathetic.

By the age of 16, I had become somewhat politically aware. I was forming opinions on various governments and movements around the globe: some good, some not so good, and some dictatorships downright evil. The Catholic church, in its wisdom, however, lauded any regime claiming to be predominantly Catholic, giving no consideration to human rights or justice.

General Franco was still dictator of Spain at the time and certainly in the “downright evil” camp, in my opinion. One Sunday at mass, I took and read a copy of the “Catholic Herald” newspaper. Franco was being heavily criticized around the world at that time. Possibly one of the few topics on which the West and the Soviet Bloc broadly agreed. The leading article in the Herald that week was essentially along the lines that we should ignore all the criticism of Franco because he was a good catholic and the leader of a Catholic Country.

For me, this was the tipping point. I never returned to the catholic church nor went to mass again for my sake. I had no problem with attending weddings, funerals, and baptisms. In later years I was happy to sometimes escort my Mother to mass after my Father died. For those many millions for whom Catholicism is a driving force in their lives, I was happy they found something in their religion. Something that eluded me, faith.

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Lesson 1 – A Song that brings back memories

Music could always be heard in our house when I was growing up. My father, who played piano by ear, was the only musician—everyone else sung, most of the time in tune. I remember curling up on the couch with a blanket and listening to him playing. To my young ears, it all sounded magical and haunting. In retrospect, I believe it must have been tuneful; otherwise, it would have grated on the ear of even a four year old. By the time I was perhaps 5 or 6, the piano was gone, possibly to make room for other furniture? I didn’t know. Nor did I think to ask my father how he learned to play the piano by ear and who had inspired and mentored him.

In the late 1940s, we had a radio in the house which saw a lot of use. From the early morning news to a late-night show called “Book at Bedtime,” our radio was on. We listened to record request programs to radio sitcoms, broadcast dramas, and soaps; we listened a lot. It was on the radio show “Children’s’ Choice,” or similar that I first heard Vernon Dalhart singing “The Runaway Train,” an immediate hit with me. I would listen every week in the hope someone would have requested “Runaway Train,” and usually, the show’s host did not disappoint.

My Mother was very taken with ballads from around 1900 to the late 1930s. She would sing on her own or along with the radio when everyone except me was at work or school. My brothers became jazz fans in the late 1940s when they started buying 78 rpm records. Around that time, I inherited a Columbia brand windup gramophone and maybe a dozen 78 rpm records. The records must have at one time belonged to my brothers. Perhaps they had grown tired of these particular ones and gifted them to me? I don’t know. All I do know is I ended up with them.

One, in particular, made a big impression on a pre-school music aficionado. It was “The Old Music Master” by Hoagy Carmichael. I saw myself as “the little colored boy” who stepped “right out of nowhere” to say,  “you gotta jump it, Music Master, you gotta play that rhythm faster.” Until I saw the written lyrics years later, I always thought Hoagy sung “little curly boy.”

The B side of the record was Hoagy singing “Hong Kong Blues,” a song with a haunting, oriental themed melody, overtly about opium addiction. I liked this song almost as much as “Music Master.” No adults or near adults in the house ever said anything about the opioid connections, so I must assume they didn’t know. It took several years for the meaning of the lyrics to click with me. I had guessed someone was jailed in Hong Kong for “kicking old Budah’s gong.” Well before I reached my teens, I had strong suspicions there was a little more to “kicking old Budah’s gong” than just “kicking old Budah’s gong.” And “sweet opium won’t let me fly away,” was a dead giveaway, even to a  six or seven-year-old.

I loved the gramophone because I didn’t have to listen to the radio and wait, hoping someone had requested the song I wanted to hear. With the gramophone, I could play the same record over and over again to my heart’s content. That is until my Mother either pleaded or sometimes ordered me to either stop or play something different. Of the dozen or so records in my somewhat eclectic, pre-school 78 rpm record collection, a few others remain in my memory. Albert Ammons “Boogie Woogie Stomp,” Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” and trumpeter/band-leader, Harry James, playing Rimski Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble Bee.”

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Essentials of Memoir Writing Songs From My Childhood

lesson 1 , Essentials of Memoir Writing , homework written by Evelyn I Ferguson

Songs From My Childhood

This shiny afternoon I visited a store in the town centre. When I passed the book section and stopped for a while before the shelves the a well-known song reversed me back in my childhood. I love this song. I felt  weight in my heart and sorrow about this day.

I remembered this  cold morning in my earlier years. I have just awaked and I was still in my bed at The Hall when I heard the voice of my governess:

‘The bell on the big gate is ringing. I will go and see who is. Stay safe locked inside and don’t open to anyone until I return. If it is someone uninvited I will not unlock the big gate. Stay here!’ she said and walked out. My governess set of for the big gate to see who is coming so early in the morning

I stood up and started slowly to prepare for the day and still felt upset having a presentiment of the bad day. I just finished the prepare and I heard her warning voice:

‘Evy, don’t come, don’t come anymore. Stay there! Lock yourself and stay safe.’

She was then a young woman with brown hair and lively brown eyes and looked  well-build in her dress.

I was living then in the big beautiful site which we call in the family The Hall. From time to time, I myself, as a part of our big family then, have visited our relatives who were settled permanently in this site. The site was recognized as a work of art after they refurbished, restored, reconstructed, fortified and widened it. The superior members of our family added to the main construction one separated part as a separated building. The main part is beautified by plastic arts and ornaments from the bottom to his top which represent persons and moments from the British history and is really impressive. It is designed, built and reconstructed by my grand-grand-father, grand-grand-mother, children, grandchildren, and some other close relatives, more than one hundred persons. Each of them occupied a separate room. The smaller construction is designed and built by my grandfather and the members of his family then, in the time of the carried work. My grandfather was the Chief in this town after his work in London and as a banker. The site is constructed with more glasses in the external design. From the street the site is accessed by a stairway of 7 steps and at the inner part is an created internal yard which used to be a pictorial four season garden. It is situated in the town centre near the central square.

At first, my room was on the first floor but later some space was pre-arranged especially for me and then my room was re-arranged on the second floor. Ignoring the warning message of my governess I passed the corridor, stepped down on the internal stairs and soon arrived not far

from the big gate which usually we lock after the sunrise and unlock in the morning, but not every day, for security reasons. Then I noticed some people who violated the gate and with the tools which they held in their hands tried to broke the lock and the padlock. Some time I stayed there watching them, shocked from that what was happening before my view from their robust voices and from the strong noise from the hits. I saw my governess trying to persuade them to stop the violation. They pushed and a baldhead man hit her. She turned to me and said:

‘Evi, why you are coming here. They could hurt you. Go back and stay safe!’ .

One of the attackers tied her hands and they removed her in a van. One other man of them looked at me and told me:

‘Oh, you are here again. You are the same child from yesterday. We defeated your mother yesterday and if you do not listen what we are saying we will defeat you as well on the same way’

Behind me I heard the voice of Suzannah:

‘Don’t go outside. Now you are alone and you need to listen to us. You are now an orphan. Go and rest in your place.’ She looked around 30 years of age, with long curly fair hair, a little taller than average height. The tightened jeans and tensed blouse which Suzannah wore this day brought into relief her firm figure.

‘No, said the bald man with the tool on his hand, you will not stay here anymore. This place is for us already. If you want to stay alive, you need to go to live somewhere else.’.

Next to him arrived Margi, and started to walk around dressed with sport trousers in kaki colour and dark green shirt. She wore not very short brown straight hair. Then, Suzannah turned to me and said:

‘Don’t listen to him, Evelyn. Go and rest’ she pointed to the door for my wing of the place.

I felt depressed and I did not say anything. It’s started to rain. Then I returned in my room trying to realise what exactly has happened and to fix the problem but I was only a small child. There was not painkiller for the melancholy and the loneliness. The only option was to adapt to it. It is rained all the day. Above the wings of the site the caps was wet from the rain.

Later Margi and Suzannah appeared on the frame of my door. Margi said:

‘What is going on here with you, Evelyn?’ She was

 Suzannah stepped inside my room and said to me:

‘Tomorrow you have to leave this place because the bad people will come and if they find you, the things will go from bad to worse. We can place you in an orphanage, what do you suggest?’ She glanced at my face with her glowing brown eyes expecting my answer.

 Do you listen to me what I am saying’?’ emphasized Margi coming closely to me:

‘Orphanage? That is the right place for you now. Here it is not anybody to look after you now. Your mum paid us a fee to look after you. It is expensive to have carers on your disposition. If you find money, we can arrange something for you. But for this we will talk later. Are you coming for dinner now?’ On her oval face I noticed her brown eyes watching at me. She still wore her khaki trousers and dark green shirt. Margi stated:

‘Evelyn, despite everything you need to eat. We still could be your carers if you find money to pay.’

‘Margi, she cannot stay here anymore, isn’t it. She should go anywhere. Zuzannah turned her eyes to me:

‘Do you know your old address, but we cannot remove you to live at your home address now because your mu passed away yesterday and if someone find you there you could be hurt as well, Evi? You cannot stay here. Do you have any idea where to remove you, on which address?’

Suzannah, tomorrow we can ask your governess if we see her’, said Margi.

‘Oh, yes, of course,’ agreed Suzannah. ’But where she is now?’.

‘At the basement.’ answered Margi and added: ’I will speak tomorrow with him to let her go’.

I felt confused and hurt emotionally.

Suddenly the melody of a beautiful song sounded in the air. The strong figure of the bald man dressed in an expensive gabardine suit appeared on the doorstep. He said to them confidently:

‘Oh, I wondered where you disappeared. You arrived to supervise the small landlady. Then, he turned to me and said:

‘I am Aleksander,’ and stretched out his hand to me trying to reach my hand. ’Now you are our landlady and we are inviting you to a dinner. Later we organize an important event but for that we will talk on the table between the hors d’oeuvres on a glass of wine. But you are not a drinker. Then, the bald man said to Margi and Suzannah: ‘Go before me ladies!’ and notify with his hand the opened door, ‘ I am after you.’

We set for the dinner where a little later I met again, for the first time after yesterday Joshua, my first fiancé, and Michael, my closest relative. Joshua possessed bright blue and wore his blond hair long. Michael wore his fair curly hair to his shoulder. He had striking blue eyes as well and both of them were a little taller than me. A nice music sound was inviting us for the upcoming dinner.

                                                                END

                                                     of  chapter one

Author: Evelyn I Ferguson    

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Lesson 2, Focusing my memoir,

EXERCISE 1:

Go back to your list of 10 topics from Lesson 1.  Under each topic that you wrote down, write at least 3 things related to that topic that a memoir might include.

1) My childhood

visited places

              involved people

              feelings – surprises, upseting  

2) A trip I took

             the hotel

             the local glories

             the town and his coffee shops

3) a sport or game that is important to me is a swimming

     My first swimming at the see

      Practicing swimming at the course of the years

      The last time when I swam

4) a movie that changed your life is ‘The Hair’

    The actors and the actresses

    The storyline

    The impact of this movie

5) a place where I lived is the house at Kingsley road

    the house

    the garden

    the area, close to the park

6) a change in my economic situation

  My work at the course of my whole career

  The payment in return

  alternative options

7) my career

My first job in life

My first job as a part of my career and the work positions during my career

My most recent job

8) My first fiancé

the first meeting

our relationship

the last meeting

9) a place that was special to me is a one summer-house in the park

The surrounding area

My visiting of that place

The person with who I visited the place

10) a particular job is accountancy

The sense of the accountancy for the life of the company

The colleagues

The work

EXERCISE 3:

Which topic did you choose to write about first? 

I chose to write about my youth.

Which topic did you automatically focus more attention on?

I focused my attention on my first fiancé Kurt.

Which topic did you generate the most ideas about?

The most ideas about was generated by the topics for my career and my work

Which topic do you feel the most attracted to? 

I am feeling most attracted to the topic for my first fiancé.

Which one interests you the most?

The most interests me the topics for my home and places where I was living at the course of the years.

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Lesson 2, My First Fiance

EXERCISE 2:

As fast as you can, write more things that could go into a memoir related to any of your 3 topics.   

OPTIONAL EXERCISE:

Write about a conversation that had an impact on your life.  Show the scene where the conversation happened, and try to reconstruct parts of the dialogue word-for-word on the page so that readers can “hear” it first-hand.

My First Fiance

‘Are you serious, Evelyn,’ Kurt glanced at my face with his beautiful blue eyes and grinned woefully. He was average height and his handsome face was surrounded with naturally blond hair. We talked at the summer-house in the park where we had spoken the last time we met before his departure.

‘Yes, I am,’ I felt happy that we are seeing each other and that we have a chat. I haven’t seen him for a long and I miss him.

‘The idea is very good, is really reasonable and I think that the sales of these products, including retailing and wholesale would bring high business profit,’ He explained to me and continued to watch me with his intelligent face and in this moment I realized that he was and still is the only man that is important to me.

,The idea is really pretty good Joshua, but on the whole is not reasonable,’ I noted as I became aware that my words could hurt him because I knew that he is very susceptible.

‘Call me Kurt. My name is Kurt because I chose it for my career. Don’t tell me that you don’t know who I am. My father chose my name on my birth to be Joshua, because his name is Joshua, and to call me Josh, but I prefer to be name Kurt, can you remember this important thing, Evelyn, he smiled kindly to me, ‘On the same way I am calling you Evelyn, but no Evie, like your governess. When you hate me in the future you can call me Jo in our future together.

I agreed watching at him and hoping for our future together

‘Why you think that my idea is unreasonable? I think that it is reasonable enough,’ He moved his glance, stood up and started to walk around slowly. His athletic figure hinted for his professional occupation more than he wanted

‘Because the produce of these items is limited and sometimes restricted by law as they are high technological class,’ I answered to Kurt.

‘Yes, I know,’ he said, ‘but that is not an obstacle. I don’t want all my life to remain a casual serviceman. It would be appropriate to find my business success soon, apart from my art career. As soon as it is possible, because, life is passing so fast that I don’t know if I will manage to do that what it should be,’ He stared wistfully in my face and continued to walk around the arbour. Then he stop and took out from the sleeve of his good quality jacket a flower, one red typed beautifully rose and handed it to me kindly.

I became emotional in my heart and couldn’t tell anything, and just slightly smiled. We were staring at each other. He continued to talk:

‘I want to give to my future wife and my family, that what they deserve, then he took my hand in his hands. I felt really surprised and really happy more than once.                                                     We were engaged before a few years. For a while or seriously. I didn’t know until this day. Then many things have happened in general and he was suspended from the city where I was living then and departed for another destination on a military service. Because of complicated circumstances I got married but on condition that the marriage will be only temporary and that after a separation I will partner with another man, expecting my engagement with Kurt.

This day I was seeing Kurt for the first time after his removal. I wished with all my heart this relationship to prolong in her natural way, but it didn’t. He arrived the previous day and gave me a ring to see me and talk with me and noted that he brought some documents.

I knew Kurt from my childhood when we were living in one household as we were relatives. At the dinner at The Hall in my childhood, before being removed from there after the death of my real parents, he stayed close to my chair. At the dinner he told me:

‘When I become a big man I would like to marry you, Evelyn,’ and then we decided to get engaged, but the next day I was removed from The Hall and I did not know how the things was going on in his life. Later, just before my graduation at the High school, in 11th class Kurt arrived to see me. He told me that he chose the city where I was living for a destination for his military service. Then he said to me:

‘Evelyn, did you remember that we got engaged at the dinner at the Hall before your departure from there? I wondered where you disappeared soon after our engagement,’.

Soon we got engaged unofficially, just between Kurt and me. But he was suspended and he was sent administratively to another place for his service.

I was set in possession of a range of companies, most of them were only registrations and patents rights. Before my graduation me and some relatives started to re-found some of the companies in order to operate profitable businesses, and to provide employment for some British people, including relatives and associated people. In that connection soon after leaving school I became co-manager and director in some companies because I was occupied with a range of activities to be set in motion these companies and to be operated profitably in cooperation with my relatives and their colleagues. For that reason I started to study in the university Economy, accountancy, investments and business.                                                                                               In that relation I was in co-ownership for one company with Kurt and his relatives which Kurt wanted to start-up and to manage it. We were of different opinions exactly for that company, because to function effectively it is necessary to produce a large quantity of items , which the law imposes limitation as these appliances provide possibilities which are or should be restricted. But that is after certain quantities for which are not applied restrictions and our conversation was in that connection.

For a while we remained in silence. One butterfly landed on his shoulder. Kurt smiled and noted:

‘There in my town at the offices are a lot of women who want to spoil you, me and our life. I don’t want this to happen. For that reason, Evelyn, me and you need to set in motion and to operate a serious business, to make a profit and to show them that is the right way, at a capitalistic economy,’.

I listened carefully to his words and agreed in my heart. Kurt stayed in front of me and continued to talk, looking at my face:

‘ Evelyn, you are one of the directors in the holding and I need your sign on some documents in order to become possible to start the necessary activities for organizing the company. When you arrive there, in Grange Park, you will just step inside and start to control the expenses, so that to keep on profit,’.

,That is very good proposition for me Kurt, but without an accountant, and in further, a very good accountant this project will not come to profit, never,’. I told Kurt as I wanted to prevent losses and wasting of money.

‘I know very well that, Evelyn, answered to me Kurt. ‘I will employ an accountant, not only one, but temporary, until you arrive there, in Grange Park,’.

We continued to talk about and on the end of the business conversation I signed the necessary important documents. I bought one of his companies in further, one agency associated with the other industrial companies in order to initiate a business partnership with Kurt. He offered to bring me every quarter reports and statements for controlling the business of the newly started up industrial company and the agency separately itself.

After each of us signed the contracts and the documents Kurt said to me:

‘Next quarter, for Christmas, I will come to bring you the reports for the agency and for the company and your bank statements. Is that OK for you, Evelyn?’

‘Yes, Kurt, it is OK. Are you certain that you will come again here in Christmas?’ I asked sensed.

‘Oh, not here in the summer-house, I will come to the office in the central city. Are you worried for something, Evelyn?’ he asked me kindly.

‘No,’ I said, but I was worried for many things, mostly for him. I knew that he was living in danger all the time. We stayed face to face and enjoyed our meeting. For short. The sun stayed high above us on the blue sky but the light breeze make us to feel cold. He wore a short sleeve shirt and good quality trousers. His skin on the forearm went slightly goosy.

‘Would you like to go round, because here it is getting cold,’ I offered kindly to Kurt.  

‘Don’t worry for me, Evelyn, he said. I am a man. In further, I am a serviceman. I am not allowed to feel uncomfortably, he smiled. He kissed me and then he said:

’ You are not anymore my fiancée, he stopped for a while, smiled a little and added glancing at my eyes, You are now my wife Evelyn, already, emphasised Kurt and embraced me. I couldn’t answer anything and just felt very sensible, I was touched in my heart.

Suddenly his mobile phone rang repeatedly. He turned it of and said:

‘I don’t wanna go. I don’t want to finalise this event,’ said Kurt holding my hand.

‘Our date,’ I asked.

‘Evelyn, this is not a date. For me this is an event, a business meeting. Even more, an important event, personally about me. If I come after three months, I will continue to arrive every three months to present you in person reports, bank statements, balance sheets and other documents and this is my case and my chance in life,’. He paused for short and continued:

‘But if I don’t  arrive before Christmas, Evelyn, that means that everything  has finished. And don’t forget, that I love you. I want you to be my wife in this life, for all my life,’. Then Kurt stood up, embraced me with his hands and kissed me once more. Than he took my hand and we set to go over in the park. On our way round Kurt said:

‘Never give up, Evelyn. Don’t stop believe in yourself. This is our time,’.

That was the last time when I saw him in person on a date and I will never forget about this part of my life then.

                                                           END     

Author:

Evelyn I Ferguson

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