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Part 2 of “Top 7 Reasons Golden Agers Write Their Life Stories”


Write your life stories

Writing your life stories stimulates your mind, which may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Exercising your “memory muscles” strengthens and flexes them. They are stretched as you reach for names and details of people, places, and events. They pump up as you fill in the fine points.

Memories beget memories. Once you start writing your life stories you’ll be inundated; one memory leads to another. Friends you hadn’t thought of in years will come to mind, as well as your joint adventures, and then other events from that time in your life. And viola! something in those recollections will lead you to even more.

For example, I started writing a little story (excerpted from “In My Boyfriend’s 1941 Ford” in That’s Life) about my first sweetheart (whom I later married):

… I’m in the passenger seat of John’s 1941 white Ford coupe; we were parked in front of my house after a City League softball game.

… The radio was on. It was a hot summer night so the windows were open. The scent of the sycamores arching over the street mingled with Old Spice aftershave and shortstop sweat. I was in heaven. I was 17 and he was 20; we were each other’s first love.

At his urging I scootched across the seat ‘til we touched. His arm came ‘round my shoulders as he took off his horn-rimmed glasses and placed them on the dashboard. I removed my retainer, wrapped it in a hankie and set it in my lap. These preparations complete, we turned to each other. …


As I recalled that romantic interlude, another event came to mind. In Fresno, California in the 1950s, prejudice toward Armenians was non uncommon, as this anecdote (excerpted from “You Wouldn’t Want Your Sister to Marry One” in That’s Life) demonstrates:

… The summer I started dating John, one of his softball teammates pulled me aside at a game and, jerking his head toward John, demanded, “Are you sure you want to go out with him?”


“His real name is Purroyan, you know. His father changed it when he came to this country.” (Translation: He’s Armenian.) … Well, he did have dark hair and eyes — the dashing good looks of an Armenian. And Purroy does lend itself to a -yan on the end – it rhymes with Saroyan. Some Armenians had dropped the –yan or –ian from their names.

In addition, John hung out with Armenians; his closest friends were Bob Mardikian and Pete Parnegian. So his teammate’s assumption was not unreasonable.

I was forced to the give the matter some thought. It didn’t take me long to decide it didn’t make any difference and I continued dating him.

Come to find out, he wasn’t Armenian after all, but Spanish Basque.


That’s how it works. One memory leads to another, your mind is working, and you’re off and running.

In addition to the pleasure of revisiting your past, it’s good for your brain. In recalling the details of your stories, you exercise your mind decreasing the likelihood of allowing dementia and Alzheimer’s to get a foothold.


My book on memoir writing, Your Life Oughta Be A Book, is available at http://CarolPurroy.com, in print form as well as Kindle and Nook eBooks. It is chock full of helpful ideas and stories to inspire you in your writing.

Also available at http://CarolPurroy.com is her own book of memoirs, That’s Life, which many memoirists have found to be extremely useful. In addition, it’s a very good read, with approximately 100 short stories – funny, poignant, sad, joyful, miraculous, amazing. (Also in print and eBook at my website.)

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