This week I had a speaking engagement in the main building of the Botanical Garden with a group of women interested in recording their own life stories or that of a parent. I enjoyed telling the women about my own experience with Cherry Blossoms in Twilight (my mother’s story), offering them tips and advice on different ways to record memories, and otherwise encouraging them to begin or continue the process of writing or recording.
Some of the women were close in age to my mother and had amazing stories, particularly of their experiences around WWII. One youthful 86-year-old Japanese-American woman had learned how to work the computer and regularly emails her son with bits of stories that someday he will be able to piece together into a most fascinating journey of her life. This active woman is still busy creating her life story! Other women, younger and with strictly American upbringings, shared interesting (and now amusing) recollections of their youth during WWII. Yes, there were many shared stories that reinforced how our cultures and perspectives were so different, yet we could relate to each other as human beings going through similar experiences. Unfortunately because of stormy weather, we were unable to wander among the cherry trees in the Japanese Garden afterwards, but we had our own beautiful cherry blossoms right there in the room.