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Here's an expert's suggestion -- ease bordom of quarantine by maintaining a journal of these strange times

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Eastmoreland resident Emily Aulicino has taught Writing Your Memoirs at the Woodstock Community Center for over a decade, with a loyal class following. Staying at home during this time of social distancing can breed boredom, or result in an extra busy life for those working from home, and caring for children or elderly parents.

These are strange and surreal times that we all will remember – but our children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces, or godchildren, may wonder later about what this was really like for grownups.

To ease boredom, or to have some therapeutic moments away from a busy life, we can write about these times, says Emily Aulicino – who has lived in Eastmoreland for over three decades, and has taught a "Writing Your Memoirs" class for thirteen years at the Woodstock Community Center. She, like the rest of us, is staying at home, but remaining in touch online with her students: Encouraging them to continue writing snippets or longer chronicles describing their lives, especially during this crisis.

Her students, some of whom have taken the class for nearly a decade, have bonded over time, as they share childhood and family stories.

"Reading stories in class, where it is safe (no outside sharing with names, etc.), allows me and each of the class members to get to know each other well. We laugh and cry together," relates Aulicino. Some of the students meet each week after class at Woodstock Wine and Deli, to discuss memoirs or any topic of interest.

Describing a few of her class members, Aulicino tells THE BEE, "Mary started with me nearly in the beginning. She had 'writer's block', but has now published. We have currently four men: One was a fisherman in Alaska; one, a lawyer in Chicago; one, in the military, stationed in D.C. – and, Ron is a great storyteller and writer. Lisa, a military nurse, is new to the group, but has great stories and loves the class. Kathy, who has been with me for several years, wrote booklets for her family for Christmas.

"When we read, I and many others realize that someone else's topic has given us suggestions for another story of our own. This is a good reason to join a writing group. I love the idea that the more we write, the more we remember. I've had students tell me they didn't have any ideas; but, after a class or two, they have many. It warms my heart."

Aulicino muses, "Writing your childhood memories and family stories is your way of giving to future generations, whom you may never meet. Each of us would love to have a diary or journal from our ancestors – and most of us regret not asking more questions of our parents, grandparents, and other family members."

However, she believes that perhaps we can prevent our descendants from having those regrets, and also preserve the memories for ourselves, by writing about our childhood and adult experiences – positive or negative.

"By making no judgments, just thinking and writing about the facts, we can bring these events to life," she says.

In these times, that might include details of the current COVID-19 coronavirus crisis that could be valuable in the future. What were the struggles, pain, fears, inconveniences, joys, or innovations that came, or are coming about, during this time?

Whether for future reference, for sharing memories of hard times, or for our own therapy at the moment, "journaling", or writing diaries or memoirs, can become a rich personal and historic resource.

Aulicino loves teaching, having taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels after earning a Masters in Education from the University of Oregon. She is also passionate about genealogy and DNA research.

In 2004 she started the Genealogical Forum of Oregon's DNA Interest Group, which continues to the present, teaching genealogists how to use DNA testing for genealogy. She also travels nationally and internationally to give presentations on genealogy and her writing techniques. Her book, "Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond", is a good way to understand and gain confidence in using DNA testing for family research.

At the Woodstock Community Center, when the building is again open after the coronavirus danger has subsided, her classes will resume on Wednesdays – 10 a.m. to noon, as well as 1 to 3 p.m. The fee is reasonable, per PP&R standards.

To learn more about these classes, and to see tips on how to write memoirs and read students' memoir blogs, visit the blog website – especially for the year 2011, although all the years are rich in stories and material. Go online to – writingyourmemories.blogspot.com

And to find out more about genealogy, go to – genealem-geneticgenealogy.blogspot.com


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