I have the honor of knowing “The Music Man,” one of two original music men famous here for teaching music and having the best music stores around. My friend had a hard early life, as many folks born in the 1920s did, but he was able to start his music store in the 1950s and became well known for teaching music, including jazz, and for supporting his local community and school district with volunteer work as well as with excellent service for the school’s music programs. When that school district created an alumni association hall of fame, my friend was the first inductee. I found he was a leader behind the creation of a book written on the history of his community and school district, so now I’m not so surprised he hired a journalist to write down his own history in a memoir of his journey from the Depression era to prominent (and well-loved) community figure. Unfortunately, he did this after his only child got power of attorney and sent him to a nursing home. He was not happy.
There are always two sides to a story and his daughter and spouse seem to be good community citizens and running the store well. The store still retains my friend’s name for continuity’s sake, but the website makes no mention of the history of the store and the man, which I find a little sad, but you know there’s probably animosity there. And you know there was animosity written into the memoir. The only child got ahold of the memoir and refused to let him publish it. He then wanted to clean it up, to make the ending more even-handed, but no go. So the story of his life is a goner. This city, his community will lose a little of its history when he passes on. But at least there is that town history book he helped create.
The moral of this post is don’t wait to write your memoir until you’ve been put into a nursing home and had all your decision-making rights taken away. Or you’ve forgotten half your story. Write your story – your way – now. And yes, the other message is to not put your unabashed anger against someone into your memoir. No. No. No. (See Boyd Lemon: Daring to dig deep to write a divorce memoir.)
Disclaimer: I have not seen my friend’s writings, this post is the truth as he knows it (and he is quite lucid) and from what I found in researching.