Friday, March 3, 2017

Finished Editing Draft One of My Mom's Book

My mother wrote a book in 1958. She edited and edited it over and over revising it and adding new things her entire life. 

When she nearly died about 8 years ago, she kept saying she couldn't die because she hadn't written her book. I can't tell you how many times she has said that in my lifetime. The greater portion of the book was written nearly 60 years ago. 

She had it edited and then retyped. Then edited and retyped. Over the years, computers have made that sort of thing much easier but my mother never "caught on" to computers so she got one person to edit it and type it into the computer only to lose the floppy disk and then get another person to type it in. 

I can say that I never read any versions of the book but just knew it was a never ending process for her. It was her life's biggest regret that she didn't get it published when her good friend asked her to finish it. She even sent him most of it at one point and I recently read the letter asking her to revise a bit and finish it 60 years ago. 

I would tell her over and over that the book was written for her time and was probably irrelevant as so much time has passed and that it may not even make sense to those reading it as much of what "was" back then has changed so much. Even in the last weeks of her life, I told her that she should have published it back in her day as people now aren't so much into beauty queens and reading books as they are into getting online and reading gossip trends. 

I had an experience while sorting her things and editing her book. I had a VERY strong feeling one day while working on things that I was wrong about it. She let me know that the book wasn't meant to be back then but that it was for now. I felt like she was reprimanding me for my flippant opinion. 

As I was reading the book, I could see how one story would help one of my daughters where they are in their life presently. Then I would read another story and think about a niece who could probably get something out of it. Again, I would read another story and find that I got something out of it. I truly know that it can be pertinent now and that it CAN help her children and grandchildren even now 60 years later.

It was funny to me that I wanted more stories from her. I wanted more about her life after being a beauty queen. She shares so much in there of her struggles the year she won and traveled around the world but I wanted to know about her struggles raising us kids and about her experiences traveling the world in a famous choir for ten years, and her struggles not having kids at home anymore etc. 

I am sure that is just me as her child but I loved her stories and talks she gave that she included. I really found myself enjoying the book. I shed tears many times while reading as I learned about my mother through her perspective rather than a child's eyes. 

I still have SO much to do getting the pictures moved and in order and collecting things from family that need to go in but for the most part, my mothers words are finalized. It feels good to have it done and my goal is to have it all finished before the year anniversary of her passing next month. I think it is doable and am excited to maybe get one thing off my "to do" list. 

As you can see, I had to move all the sorting bins into a room as we had people for dinner two nights last week and we had company from out of state just before that so I haven't had much time to work on things and still have several pieces of furniture that need refinishing that I haven't been able to get to with the craziness of the past year. Right now, two of my guest rooms are packed with bins and furniture waiting to be dealt with. 

I have to find a few more bins at my sisters in her garage so I can do a final sort and then scan five bins of stuff but happy day when it will be finished! 

I am praying I can gather all I need and finish the final edit of the book so we can get it printed as the printing company thought it would be done by now. I wish it were but in a way am grateful that they didn't get it done as the pictures in it aren't what we would want and I found more while sorting the stuff from my mothers apartment after her death that will be much better than what she put in it. 

I read my favorite quote today while finishing up. I almost missed it because it was on a form for a seniors beauty pageant she competed in years ago. There on the bottom of the page it asked her to write her "Philosophy of Life" and I decided that I am going to put that on the first page of the book. I LOVE what she wrote because it truly is my mother and speaks to her entire life. It really is her Philosophy.

She wrote: "As I mingled with women from other countries, and we worked, laughed and even cried together, I discovered that despite our differences, we were very much alike. In my mind we were sisters in the same family of Mankind. I looked in the mirror and visualized that each of their faces was looking back at me with the same kinds of hopes, needs and dreams that I also had. We desired to raise our young with attitudes of compassion and understanding so that they would contribute to the betterment of the world. If we can do this then there will be no more walls, borders or boundaries resulting in harmony and peace." 

Truly, I am blessed with an amazing mother. It seems like so long ago she lived with me and yet, last year at this time, she was sleeping a few feet from my bedroom door. It seems years ago at times and just minutes ago other days as I still continue to think, "I need to call mom and ask her...." and then remember she isn't here anymore.  

I am so glad that I followed the feeling to have my sister come and get a four generation picture with her cute grand-baby twins just before my mother died. This was taken a year ago next week.
It is only now that I realized that I didn't take any pictures of myself with my mother or a four generation picture while she was here. I was so strung out that I got pictures of her but I wanted one to frame of she and I and I don't know the last time I took one of the two of us. It isn't until we don't have it that we realize our "should of" done list. 

I have to feel good that I have honored my mother in so many ways and am continuing to honor her. I hope that I can soon move through this time and finish up all I need to do for her family history and move on to my own girls stuff. I don't want to leave my girls with anything like this. One asked me today about a will and I am shamed to say, I still haven't gotten that far for myself! Hopefully by this time next year, I can report that my mothers stuff is long done and I have worked through some of my own things! 

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