Tuesday, April 21, 2015

a memoir

My 5th graders are writing memoirs right now. 
Here is the memoir I wrote while guiding them through their memoir unit of study.

Chores Can Also Bring Positive Energy
By Mrs. Donnelly

 “I can’t right now. I have to drive my mom and her friends to a luncheon,” I reminded my husband. I would much rather go hang out with him but I couldn’t that day. Instead, I had, what I call, a chore to do - chauffeuring my mother and her friends. I often have chores to do. Looking back on all my time spent doing chores, I realize something. Chores sound boring. Chores can be tiring.  Chores can take up my time, time I’d rather being doing something else. However, I realized now looking back, that many unexpected experiences often occur while doing chores. And because of the unexpected, I sometimes end my chore time actually feeling energized.

For example, there was the time I gave my mother and her friends a ride downtown. I thought it would just be a boring ride. I knew I'd have to fight the downtown traffic. It also was a chore that took me away from spending a Saturday afternoon with my husband. On a beautiful Saturday last May, I was tasked with driving my 80-year old mother and her friends to a birthday luncheon at a restaurant in downtown D.C.. All those in the car, including my mom, had grown up in D.C. As we passed landmarks, they shared their memories while I drove and listened.

“How did we survive without AC?” my mother said to all in the car as we drove in my air-conditioned Subaru when the temperature on the dashboard read 92 degrees.

“My brother and I would go to Rock Creek Park and sleep there overnight on hot days,” one woman replied. “You probably can’t do that today.”

“You just camped out?” I asked, thinking how that doesn’t sound like a safe thing to do.

“It was a different time and the park, with all those trees, was so much cooler on a hot night,” she answered.

“That house reminds me of Dr. Brennan’s row house on my block,” another said as she pointed to a row house with a corner tower on its right side. “His house was the first with an indoor bathroom.”

“Your house didn’t have indoor plumbing?” I asked.

“Not until I started school,” she replied. “I remember we were all a little skeptical about using an inside bathroom. We were used to the outhouse.”

“That’s where I use to get the bus to ride back home after school,” a third friend said pointing to a street corner. “I remember once my mom gave me a dime to ride the bus home. But I wanted to buy candy from the candy store instead. So I did. Then I stood at the bus stop and pretend-cried. A lady asked me why I was crying and I said I’d lost my dime and can’t ride the bus. She felt sorry for me and gave me a dime.” Laughter filled the car after hearing that third story.

I kept driving the car through the city with these friends who grew up in a different time. I loved hearing how different the city was 70 years ago. I loved hearing how different these women’s lives were from mine. Before I knew it, I had arrived at the restaurant, completing my driving chore. However, instead of feeling tired or annoyed, I actually felt energized. I helped out a group of ladies and in return, I enjoyed their stories.

Looking back at my life, I realize I spend lots of my time doing chores. Sure, I say I would rather be spending my time doing other things. But now, I must admit that my time spent helping others through chores, leaves me feeling energized.


  1. I love those stories, too! What a different world it was back then. Can you even imagine kids doing those things today? No way. Thanks for sharing your memoir with us - I enjoyed listening in to the car conversations!

  2. What a perfect mentor text, Sally - love the way you shared dialogue, and through it, information. May I share this with my kids?

  3. What a perfect mentor text, Sally - love the way you shared dialogue, and through it, information. May I share this with my kids?

  4. This is such a great post for me to read today as I will be driving out of my way this weekend to pick up a dear family member. It is extra work and a lot of extra time, but we will have time for talking and I'm looking forward to hearing and sharing stories.