In an effort to find my first client, I asked a friend if I could just write the first page of what the “Book of Her Life” would read, just so I could sample what I’d like to do. She said yes and wow….It became something more of an interview. Someone talking about their life….and someone just listening. So, what follows is a taste of what I could do if you’d allow me to write your story.
FAIRY TALE BEGINNINGS
She said with a smile in her voice, “I wish I remembered my time living in Japan. I was just a baby, though. I only have pictures of me being held by my mom and dad….” She then confessed that she had about a dozen boxes of photographs of her life, all crammed under lids she often couldn’t open.
Virginia was born in North Carolina in September of 1954 at the Fort Bragg Army Hospital, but it wasn’t long after that this new family of three was whisked away to Okinawa, where her father was now stationed. Her bright blue eyes moved towards the ivory chopsticks she has sitting on a bureau. They are chipped, a little scratched, probably 75 years old by now.
“My mother used to wear those to keep her bun in place.” Then her eyes caught a photograph of her mother when she was about 40. The resemblance between the two women was uncanny. Elevated cheek bones, the slight arched brow. Her mother was a woman of natural elegance and beauty. Virginia’s father was a simple, creative man, who loved to build. He was so good at eyeballing the design of a structure, he could tell you down to the tenth of an inch what measurement was needed to put that joint into place…and he was rarely wrong.
His career in the military took his family back to the United States where Virginia’s first sister was born. It wasn’t that much later that the now family of four was sent to Germany, where her brother was born. A few years later they were off to France.
This was not a wealthy family, mind you. This was a military family that lived on a definite budget. This was a family that was packed in a Volkswagen on the weekends, with Virginia’s mother having made a sandwich lunch for everyone while her farther drove them to the very far away lands of the castles they were reading about in books. Look! Cinderella’s castle! Now, look over there! It’s Frankenstein’s castle! Next up, Crazy Ludwig’s!
“I grew up with my mom and dad taking us to castles and stuff on the weekends. Real castles some kids will never dream of being able to see.”
Eventually, they came back to the United States where Virginia’s youngest sister was born. “We’re ten years and two days apart in age.” The family of six was now firmly back on American soil for good.
But adjusting to life back in the States was a little more difficult than moving around the world. “Middle school and high school were more difficult than I thought they’d be. That was difficult. That adjustment was difficult, being in middle school and then high school. I was going to school with people who had forged bonds with each other from the very beginning. They probably still have those bonds to this day. All this time I had forged a bond with my brother, my sisters. That bond will last forever.”
When asking someone about their life, it isn’t often the answer to the question that you’re looking for, but the reaction they give.
“What’s the next big thing that happened to you?”
Virginia sighed, paused. She was reticent. “I married my first husband when I was sixteen.” The words are one thing to hear, but the tone was dismissive. She obviously didn’t want to talk about it.
However, she ultimately did. “We both joined the army and I was sent back to Europe.” The dullness in her voice confessed that this time there would be no castles. And that is precisely where Virginia’s story starts. Where the fairy tales end and real life begins….
Thank you so much to Virginia for letting me do this. I cannot thank her enough for being so honest, candid, and kind with what she shared of her story. Please let us know what you think.
And if you’d like for me to write “The Book of Your Life,” I would be so honored.