The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 10, 2014

Keeping the record: Legacies live through VINE memoir class

MANKATO — The wisdom of elders is sometimes overlooked by younger generations. Filled with stories of a time many will never know, senior citizens have a gift to offer their families about another time in history.

Linda Good began reflecting on these ideas and was inspired to bring people together to begin recording their memories and stories. Good, a retired professor from Minnesota State University, opened a seniors’ Memoir Writing Group at the Summit Center in Mankato in June 2013.

Good and her friend Carole Petersen began discussing the opportunity after Peterson attended a memoir class elsewhere. Bringing back ideas and enthusiasm about what she had learned, Peterson shared her experience with Good and the two began pursuing a similar class in Mankato. Good then contacted VINE Faith in Action about the possibility of creating a course for seniors.

“This class is bringing history to life for us,” Good said.

With the group's age range spanning three decades, the stories are endless. Every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., participants sit around a table over coffee and baked goods, discussing the stories they've prepared for each session.

The course is used as an outlet to create writing discipline and reminisce on experience. There is no specific way that Good expects the members to create stories and she makes it clear to her pupils that she is not grading their writing, but giving them the guidance and drive to continue writing for themselves.

“Some write through a stream of consciousness and others write more technically,” Good said.

The class has fostered deep friendships and relationships are built on trust. Though the stories are kept confidential, participants welcome as many people as their small meeting room can hold.

Eileen King said, “I’ve been telling everyone I run into about this class.”

King is using the class as a way to maintain consistency in her writing.

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