Memoirs by Nancy
Born into a multi-faceted, well-educated, intellectually curious family, Sherry Downes knew from a young age that life would hold both mystery and adventure. Finding early but abiding love when still a teenager, she married after college, and the couple joyfully welcomed three sons in the years that followed. When tragedy struck, Sherry faced it squarely and carried on, finding a new life for herself and her children. Opportunities for work, travel, friendship and new love unfolded as time went by, bringing moves across the country, a burgeoning passion for politics, and a host of happy times. Even as the decades brought sorrows and joys of every kind, Sherry remained steadfastedly an adventurer with a resolute spirit, determined to maintain her prevailing faith, her love of family and her sense of humor throughout her journey. Purchase here.
The adored daughter of a Polynesian maiden and an American writer destined for fame, Nancy Ella Hall Rutgers grew up amidst the idyllic landscapes of Tahiti. As a teenager, she met the love of her life, and their seventy years together were a montage of glamorous parties, seaside fun and domestic happiness in Tahiti, Hawaii and Colorado. Mutiny on the Bounty put her father on the map as a novelist, but it was through his poems that he celebrated the wonders of raising a daughter, and Nancy’s memoir is a loving tribute to three generations, celebrating her parents, her husband, and the four children she and Nick raised together. Purchase here.
An eager adventurer from a very young age, Art ("Nod") Milliken played in the woods as a young boy, traveled out west to ride horses as a teenager, raced sailboats and motorcycled across Europe while in college, and served as a naval officer during the Korean War. An intrepid curiosity about construction technology led to a long career in homebuilding while Art and his beloved wife Lee raised a family, but he never lost his passion for outdoor adventure – hiking, rafting, bicycling and motorcycling throughout the decades, and taking up paragliding as he turned eighty! Purchase here.
An idyllic childhood in the south of France came to an end with World War II, and wartime presented new challenges to a teenage Sonia Gibbons as she moved to Paris and London, where she and her sister helped smuggle refugees to safety. A fortuitous employment opportunity with the British Council brought Sonia and her future husband together and paved the way to a happy adulthood in her adopted homeland, marked by travel, community life, teaching, adventure and the joy of watching their three children grow up. Purchase here.
Raised in the West Texas Panhandle by dirt-poor but hard-working sharecroppers, Joe Wiginton left home at the age of sixteen, first for a stint in the Army and then for a low-rung job in the fire sprinkler safety industry. Within the next two decades, he would learn to excel at the business and develop enough acumen to start his own company, which thrived amidst the rapidly expanding metropolis of Orlando, Florida. But Joe’s ultimate triumph wasn’t in his meteoric business success but rather in the range of friends, family members, colleagues and employees who admired and loved him throughout the years. His example served as an inspiration to everyone who met him, and his uniquely large and exuberant personality continues to bring joy to his wide circle of acquaintances, his children, grandchildren, and his beloved wife Judy. Purchase here.
Born in New York City in 1933, Patricia Scullion has lived a life of privilege and challenge, but most of all it has been a life of exuberance, characterized by unflagging love for her children, her spouses, her friends, her grandchildren, and the many people fortunate enough to have crossed paths with her over the past nine decades. Purchase here.
In the early days of the 20th century, Frank Paul LaMonaca’s grandparents left Tropea, Italy, for America – not for the typical pursuit of prosperity but because their grown children wanted to emigrate, and the parents wished to keep the family close. That fundamental belief in maintaining solid and loving family ties has endured throughout the generations that followed. Raised amidst aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and siblings, Frank grew up to be a hair stylist, business owner, enthusiastic golfer, avid reader, and professional musician – but most of all, he was a family man, forever devoted to his beloved wife Toni, the three children they raised, and now his grandchildren and great-grandchild. The story of Frank’s life is a testament to family bonds. Purchase here.
In 1919, a daughter named Phyllis Clark was born in Gary, Indiana, to two well-educated parents raised on farms in western Illinois near the Mississippi River. Though the years that followed her birth brought hard times to her family, the love of her parents and brothers surrounded and protected her -- even as the Depression drove the family into numerous challenging life and work circumstances. The first week of college, she met a young man named Harvey Dearstyne who would pursue her for the next six years, until finally they married and began their life together, first with a military stint as World War II wound down, then more years of education, and finally a chance for Phyllis to have what she'd always dreamed of: children of her own, whom she and Harvey raised with devotion and joy. Hers was a lifelong journey, with much uncertainty and occasional tragedy, but more than anything else marked by love. Purchase here.
"For Love of God and Family": Memoir of Bertha (Olivier) Santos, a woman born in Acushnet, Massachusetts, in 1923, who lived 91 years and filled the decades with tending to her family and expressing her devotion to her God.
"Memories from an Ordinary Girl's Life": Memoir of Lorraine Celi, starting with her grandparents' life and continuing through her Italian-American childhood in Massachusetts, meeting her husband and their college years together, and his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. Purchase here.
Born in 1930 in Hangzhou and raised alongside his three sisters, with World War II and his father's participation in the Air Force as a backdrop, SK Ho developed a fascination in his teenage years for electrical engineering.. Meanwhile, a girl born in 1931 named Kung Sui Lu (later called Cynthia) was following a parallel trajectory, with a childhood in Peking in a household full of siblings, parents whose presence in the household was affected by the war, and eventually nursing school in Taiwan. Both of them immigrated in their twenties to continue their education and career training in Philadelphia -- where they would soon meet, fall in love, and marry. This is the story of that decades-old partnership, the children and community it created, the successful careers they each pursued, and the life lessons passed along to future generations by SK and Cynthia Ho. Purchase here.
"Always Room for One More": Memoir of John and Dolores Lodico. In the 1940s, in the town of Nyack, New York, along the banks of the Hudson River north of New York City, two teenagers met and fell in love. They soon married and started a new family of their own, while also making a home and building their own careers. This is their story. But it is also the story of their parents and their children: those who preceded them and those who now follow in their footsteps. And it is the story of the countless people of all ages who crossed paths with them, worked with them, stayed in their home, confided in them, sought advice from them, learned from them, and loved them. It is the story of a couple who have made their motto into a guiding principle: 'Always room for one more. Purchase here.
"The Experience of Our Years: Residents at Carleton-Willard Village Remember the Moments and the Events That Made Them Who They Are Today," Edited by Nancy Shohet West. A collection of memories and experiences recollected by the residents of Carleton-Willard Village, a retirement community in Bedford, Massachusetts.
"Peace, War, Love and Loss: The Lessons of Our Years: Residents of Atria Merrimack Place Remember the Moments and Events That Made Them Who They Are Today." Edited by Nancy Shohet West. A collection of memories and experiences recollected by the residents of Atria Merrimack Place, a senior community in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Purchase here.
"The Mother-Son Running Streak Club" by Nancy Shohet West: A memoir about one mother's experiment in strengthening her relationship with her son by challenging him to run a mile or more with her every day for one year.
Click here to see "Frequently Asked Questions" about Memoir Projects.
Everyone has a story to tell – and everyone has someone who wants to hear that story. This is the simple premise behind Nancy’s approach to memoir writing. Working one-on-one with clients through a series of informal interviews and discussions, Nancy has written and published memoirs for grandparents, philanthropists, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, and community activists. With Nancy’s intuitive listening skills and professional editorial expertise, you will create a lasting legacy – a keepsake through which your descendants, peers, friends, or disciples will learn about the profound influences that shaped your life and the driving passions that continue to move it forward.
Senior residential communities, professional societies, intergenerational families, and special interest groups have their own story to tell. A community memoir is a collection of the stories of the individuals who make up a larger group or family. For community memoirs, each participant typically describes one formative event or circumstance that shaped his or her life, and each of these individual chapters is compiled into a work that encompasses the spirit and dynamic of the community as a whole.
Email Nancy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your memoir project.
"Nancy Shohet West '84 Helps Turn Moments into Memories" - Concord Academy Magazine, May 3, 2016