Writing program launched to encourage seniors to share their memories

MONCTON – Two Moncton women have launched a seniors’ writing program to teach people how to write their memories.

Deborah Carr and Nancy Hartling are starting the program to help seniors realize how valuable their contribution still is til society.

“The aging population has so much to offer and I think that we need to be giving that more attention and they need to see the significance and value of what they bring,” said Carr.

Right now, the program called “Understanding our Stories,” is being held in Riverview. Carr says the six-week writing workshop teaches the principles of story writing, like character development and story focus.

Eighty-six-year-old Ken McCormack took the course after struggling to write down his own memories for the last two years.

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“It was just little snippets of my life as I had gone along,” he said.

McCormack says he wanted to learn how to put it all together in a novel formal, doing it more for fun than to leave behind a legacy.

But by telling his own story, McCormack says he hopes he can teach his many grandchildren that life can be a battle.

His story starts like a well-crafted novel: “World War Two separated many families and ours was among them.”

He goes on to tell the story of he and his two brothers who were forced to leave their family home in Manchester England during the second World War. McCormack was only an 11-year-old boy when he was separated from his mother.

“When she put us on the train she was standing here crying because they never asked, they told them you should get your children out of the city,” he said.

He was separated from his family for three years. McCormack now says it shaped him into the man he is today.

“You had to take what came whatever it was and that was the biggest thing that is what I learned the most, life is not a bowl of cherries.”

It’s that kind of wisdom Carr hopes to pass on though story. She’s applied for funding from the province to expand the writing program across the region.

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“Everyone has a story, everyone has many, many stories,” she said.

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