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The Winter Fun Newsletter - January 2024

Winter has always been a special and nostalgic time of year in my home. The extreme cold may not be so pleasant, but winter should be wintry, as it was in my youth when we enjoyed sledding and hide and seek in the snowy neighborhood.


With the recent snowfall, winter traditions in the Squires household have been rekindled: Sadie and I made a unique snowman at the park down the road, we got on the Jumbotron at a Devils game, and I took the family skiing in the Berkshires. Simple pleasures, and we’ve got the pictures to prove it.



Sadie and Mr. Snowman, Sadie and her cousin on the screen at the Prudential Center in Newark, and Jess and Sadie riding the chairlift through a cloud


When I write my LifeStory, will these anecdotes be there? Absolutely! Each anecdote does two things: it represents an ongoing tradition in a general sense, which is how we tend to perceive our lives. On another level, each anecdote is a specific moment filled with authentic, lived-in details. When told with specificity, the story comes to life; it becomes even more engaging for the readers and listeners, as well as the storyteller, whose memories are forever enhanced through the reminiscence and documenting process.


Helping my clients chronicle their lives puts me in touch with the gratitude I feel in my own life. If my clients have taught me anything, it’s that life is short; enjoy it with the people who matter most. Cheers to story sharing, to our families, and to Winter 2024!


 

Memoir Spotlight—James and Ellie


This month, I want to highlight a very special couple whose LoveStory Memoir I recently published. James and Ellie were a dream to work with. They are so kind and welcoming; in fact, Ellie says she has the feeling that she and I knew each other in a past life, and I agree. We really clicked throughout the interviewing and writing process, and the whole project had a feeling of ease and comfort. It doesn’t hurt that every time I visit them at their home in West Orange, New Jersey, they feed me delicious, authentic Croatian food, from peppers stuffed with beef, to chicken and polenta spiced with the flavors of their motherland.


James and Ellie truly understand the value of family and preserving our stories for the benefit of the future. Their awesome story, Together Forever: Our Adventures from Communist Croatia to the American Dream, is full of history, challenge, perseverance, and reward.




James and Ellie both grew up poor during World War II, survived a communist regime under Tito, and risked their lives to escape. They established new roots in a foreign land, which posed its share of difficulties, sacrifice, and hard work, but they never lost sight of how fortunate they were to find true, lifelong love with each other, to make their way to the land of freedom, and to raise their two beautiful daughters here. Now retired grandparents, they truly achieved the American Dream.


As they explain in their memoir’s conclusion:


The United States always seemed like heaven in our minds. When we were young, still in Croatia, we watched American movies in the theaters, and we were willing to give our lives for a chance to live here and raise our children here. Working for it was hard, but it was worth it because we had a home, and our children got a great education. Our children are successful, and their children will be successful. We never had much growing up, but they have everything.


To live well in this country, you have to learn how to save. If you’re not rich, and you don’t expect to inherit something, you have to sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. For us, the road was hard. One of us had thirty-five cents in our pocket when we arrived, and the other had a dollar. Otherwise, we came with nothing but ten fingers. We had no home, certainly no health insurance or anything like that. But God provided for us, and now we have so much.


Yes, God really has blessed us.


James and Ellie on their first date, October 11, 1958, in a park in the city of Zagreb, Croatia.

And the couple on a more recent date.


I hope you enjoy this video book reveal of the very moment that James and Ellie finally see and hold their completed LoveStory/LifeStory Memoir. I am very proud of their book, and they love it—which is what’s most important.





 

My Latest Blog: 10 Reasons to Hire a Professional to Capture Your Family’s Precious Stories Before They Are Lost Forever


Knowing your roots—where you come from, the stories behind how you came to be here now, the challenges your ancestors overcame, and the resilience they summoned—provides a source of strength, a solid footing, a wind at your back.


A memoir that tells this story for future generations to cherish and share forward is one of the greatest things you can do for your family. As we each embark on our life adventures, the wise among us take advantage of the resources at hand; your family’s intergenerational story is one such powerful resource.


However, capturing your family’s story, or the story of an individual loved one, is easier said than done. While most people love the idea, it isn’t a project they can readily do on their own. That is why professional book and memoir writers like LifeStory Memoir exist: to help make it easy for you to realize your dream of documenting your family’s precious stories in a memoir you are proud to share for generations to come.


Click here to learn 10 reasons you should consider hiring a professional to capture your family’s stories before it is too late and they are lost forever.


 


LifeStory's mission is to make sure you do not lose your family's stories forever. The stories of your life or a loved one’s are legacies that belong in a cherished memoir for following generations to learn from. For more information visit LifeStoryMemoir.com. If you would like to see these results for yourself or a loved one, fill out this contact form, or reach out to me directly at Richard@LifeStoryMemoir.com or 973-903-1487.


Yours truly,




Richard Squires, MFA, MA

Author & Publisher

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