Jeanne Allan Editor's note


In 1988-89, Grandma took a course on "Writing Your Life Story". For the next eleven years she wrote bits and pieces of it on scratch paper and in spiral bound note books. She would revise and cross out. She envisioned a story with pictures, and would paper clip photos and newspaper articles to a particular story, or write notes indicating which picture she had in mind to illustrate it.

Periodically she would type bits and pieces of it on the electric typewriter that sat against the wall in her bedroom. (Just thinking of that typewriter brings back the memories of her bedroom - the smell, the ten photo frames displaying the school photos of all of us grandchildren, her beautiful crocheted bedspread, the Aunt Jemima Puddle Duck ceramic in the headboard of her gray wooden headboard, and in later years the index card on gold paper tacked to her door saying she was in an Alzheimer study and giving the phone number of the place her brain was to go when she died.)

In 2000 she sent the stories to me one or two at a time to type on my computer. I would send them back, she would revise, and correct typos, and send them back. At the time of her death, I compiled what was then typed into a three ring binder.

Since then I have been slowly going through her papers and typing up the remaining stories. In the act of revising she sometimes came up with two stories that started with the same paragraph and then went in two different directions. For now I publish each online as I finish typing it. I have also been going through her incredible trove of pictures. She was diligent about noting the date, the place and who was in each picture. She put together numberous photo books. She favored books with black pages and identified photos with white ink. Unfortunately, shortly before she died she went through her earliest album from Missoula and removed the photos from the book, thinking we would only be interested in photos of the immediate family.

One year for Christmas grandmother put together a book of family history and mementos for each of us ten grandchildren. Each was prefaced with the following letter, which speaks to why she wrote her life story as well as why she put together the family history books.

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