Thank you Family, Friends and Class of ’76

 

 

Who doesn’t remember Oprah’s famous statement, “Everyone has a story.”

It was about that time I discovered the world of scrapbooking and thought I could tell my story through pictures. I desperately cut and pasted album after album in hope of clarifying to future generations how we became a ‘modern family’. A family of wholes, halves and steps. A family with more than one country and a family they could be proud of.

A few years later I was lucky enough to attend a Write Your Life Stories workshop in the Hague. I never did and still don’t consider myself a writer, just a person with a story. I’m not quite sure what possessed me to do it (perhaps a midlife crises of sorts) but I soon found myself day after day, year after year, writing. Pouring my heart out, one chapter at a time.

Long story short, that endeavor became a real book. A book for both my family and the world, and I’m not sure which is scarier. Writing a memoir is tricky, because no two people remember events exactly alike. There is also the honesty issue, which can be quite hurtful to both yourself and those you hold near and dear. I live in a small town now and whenever I’m out roaming about I can’t help but wonder who’s looking at me, and if they know my secrets. Its almost as if I’m naked for anyone to look at.

For me the biggest surprise has been peoples reaction. People I thought were close, have been distant and people who were distant, have now become close.

My family has been very supportive, although not all of them have read the book (yet), including a few of my own children. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s hard. I was most on edge about my parents reaction and greatly relieved when they simply said, “That’s life”. I then began wonder how I would feel if my children were to critique my parenting, in a book! All I can say is bravo, Mom and Dad.

My closest friends, most of who appear in the book have also been encouraging and flew (along with my mother and sister) all the way to the Netherlands for my book launch. I have a great group of dear friends in both America and Norway.

I graduated from Brick Township High School in 1976. While most of my classmates were playing sports, joining clubs and going to parties, I gave all my free time to a boy. He turned out to be the wrong boy of course, and my high school years were waisted. I didn’t go to college either, instead I changed diapers and made bottles (all by choice). Twelve years after graduating high school, I took my children and moved to Norway. Besides a small circle of close friends in New Jersey, I’ve had no contact with any of my high school peers.

Marking the thirty-fifth anniversary of our graduation, a reunion was planned and a ‘Brick ‘76’ facebook page was started. I began checking in everyday to see what people were writing and what they were up to. Never truly feeling a part of this group, it took awhile before I got up the nerve to hit like or leave a comment here and there. I was unable to make it to America for the reunion, which I deeply regretted.

Some people disappeared again after the reunion, while others stayed behind and kept up on facebook. When news broke that my book was being published, I was surprised to find so many of my old classmates standing on the sidelines, cheering for me.

After thirty-five years I finally scored and the support of my classmates has been one of the best parts! Go Dragons!

Thanks everybody!

 

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About maggiemyklebust

I grew up on the Jersey Shore and now live in Norway. I have also lived in Houston and the Netherlands. I have written a memoir called Fly Away Home.

Posted on May 4, 2012, in writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. My father wrote an autobiography, over the course of a couple of decades, for my brother and I. The first thirty or forty years of his life in Norway and coming to America after WW2 were the most interesting. I hope to be able to read of your life soon. It is or will be especially meaningful for your children.

  2. Thats wonderful, have you thought of publishing it?
    My book is available on Amazon :)

  3. I have thought about it, but who would want to read it? I have no idea about publishing either. Maybe I could continue it through another generation. Then I thought about Kristin Lavransdottir which was interesting, but tedious. Of course, I was in college then and everything was tedious. Thanks though, and I will be buying yours very soon

  4. What a fabulous post. I think you’re an incredibly brave woman, Maggie and I completely understand the fears and anxieties you’ve experienced as a result of sharing your work. You’ve done a marvellous job and I’m sure your parents are very proud of you. It means a lot knowing your loved ones support your endeavours. Congratulations. Love the pic – fabulous – I hope to be in that same position one day! :)

  5. Isn’t it funny how that sense of belonging can elude us for so many years, and then pounce when we’ve long since stopped thinking about it?
    Well done you, and what a fantastic achievement to be able to stand by in a reunion situation. I avoided contact with old class-mates for many years. After battling abuse and depression and failing in all the usual yardsticks of life – university, work, I felt too ashamed of my perceived shortcomings to be able to look any of the people I used to know in the eye.
    I’m a lot stronger now and learning that there are things to be valued about me, they may not be the usual things people stick on their resumes, but they have their worth nonetheless.

  6. Those darn yardsticks of life…

  7. I just downloaded your book to my Kindle and it’s next up on my list of reading. I’m very much looking forward to reading it. I’ve just started writing my own memoir and am just beginning to realize how scary this might actually be. Congratulations!

    I look forward to exploring your blog as well.

    • Thank you! (And be sure to let me know what you think)
      Yes its scary, and yet the most rewarding experience of my life!

      I read every memoir I could get my hands on while writing my own. It really helped to keep me going.

      The best of luck to you and be sure and let me know when and where I can read it. :)

  8. annie siersema potter

    facebook with brick76 was so much fun… our reunion was so much better for me because of all the re-connecting we did. i can’t wait for our 40th!

  1. Pingback: Maggie Mycklebust on why writing a memoir can be so tricky | Expat Bookshop

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