|About the Book|
It takes courage to register for an autobiography workshop in which one will review ones life, commit the memories to paper, and share them with erstwhile strangers. Few people reach middle age without memories that are painful to recall--incidentsMoreIt takes courage to register for an autobiography workshop in which one will review ones life, commit the memories to paper, and share them with erstwhile strangers. Few people reach middle age without memories that are painful to recall--incidents that involve loss, shame, regret, anger guilt--feelings that make us uncomfortable. The four women, whose lives are the subjects of this book, met in just such a workshop. I was the instructor and Theda Bray, Honey Hilzen, and Peggy OHea were three of the hundreds of people I have met during the twenty years I have been teaching. Like some others, they returned semester after semester to continue writing their stories, reading them aloud in class, and receiving feedback from their fellow students. I was struck by their ability to mine their histories, their dedication to their projects, and the unusual lives they had lived. I have become an unabashed admirer of the strength of character that enabled each to bring dreams to fruition despite environments that seemed designed to thwart them. I felt their stories deserved a wider audience, hence this book to which I added a few chapters of my own. Theda Bray ends A Time Remembered, with her emigration to the United States, but she has since written another memoir, You Cant Always Cry: A Nurses Journal Peggy OHeas story ends with her marriage. Peggy earned a Bachelors while working as an executive secretary. She and her police-officer husband are now retired and are grandparents with homes in Florida and New Jersey. Honey Hilzen is the one in Six and One Are Seven. Her story stops shortly after her marriage. but she brings us up-to-date on the lives of her mother and six siblings. Honey became the mother of three, grandmother of eight, and great grandmother of one. She continues her caring and generous ways with all she meets. I contributed My Mothers Daughter, chapter spanning my first seven decades, in the joint effort to understand our beginnings and figure out how we were able to achieve lives we can look at with satisfaction, lives that one might describe as successful. Since publication, I have become a dedicated student of Buddhism and the convener of a Buddhist practice community. I have often wondered why one person is able to survive, thrive, and even excel, while another, in roughly equivalent circumstances, cannot. What combination of influences, genetic and environmental, enables one person to take control of his or her life, aspire to reasonably high levels of achievement and succeed, while his or her siblings either set goal beyond their capacity, which they fail to achieve, or have levels of aspiration far below their potential.