Reason #2 - You do have something to say and you can say it.

My father thought he had nothing to say. However, with just a few questions about his childhood and with my pen in hand to write down his answers, the “Life on the Farm” excerpt below was generated. I think it is interesting to read about my dad’s morning chores, his bed, and his breakfast. I think my children and grandchildren are going to appreciate it too.

Life on the Farm

My father was born in 1943 in Platea, Pennsylvania. As a boy, he began his days by bringing in wood, firing up the furnace, or feeding the chickens, pigs, or the milk cows, Elsie and Caboss. They had a barn made out of cardboard and wood where they kept the cows and calves. Dad always loved the animals, and they all had names.

There was no running water in the house until my dad was at least in his older teens. He and his brothers and sisters would walk, about a quarter mile, to get water from the spring over the hill. They visited the outhouse. Baths were given occasionally in a metal tub, but dad avoided them as much as possible.

Dad described his bed in the 1940s and 1950s as a "straw tick" bed. This was a sheet that could be stuffed with straw and then placed on exposed wire box springs. Every so often the straw would be changed in their mattresses. All seven kids had straw tick beds. Dad says they were comfortable.

Breakfast was a big meal. The Payne Family would have eggs, oatmeal, blackberry pancakes, or blackberry dumplings. Grandma canned meat, tomatoes, blackberries, peaches, pears, apples, plums, and more. Grandma would also make apple butter at home. The kids would churn butter by hand. Dad doesn't like butter today, he says, probably because he had to churn it so much as a kid. They used lard from the pigs for cooking.

He had good handmade shirts sewn from flour sacks (with flowers on them!), store-bought pants, and Red Wing high top shoes (not sneakers). He said that they always had good shoes no matter how little they had. Again, things weren't perfect, but that's the way life was. Dad says it wasn’t such a bad life. I’m glad I asked.

Keep it mind that you don’t have to write like your old high school English teacher or Shakespeare to say what you want to say. Short, direct sentences are just fine. Remember the details from the events of your life. Recall what you saw, heard, smelled, tasted, or felt during that moment.