CHARLESTON – Phyllis Bayles grew up in a tight-knit Greek community in Danville, where the Chapel of St. Barbara, affectionately known as âthe Greek house,â was the focal point for baptisms, weddings and many other celebrations.
The Charleston resident said the joyful sensations of being there impressed her so much that she could easily recognize it with her eyes closed, and it still brings back memories decades later. She poured those memories into reflections, titled “The Greek House,” in Past-Forward Memoir Writers’ third book, “For the Record,” which the group presented during a live reading on Sunday afternoon. at the Charleston Carnegie Public Library.
Bayles and more than 20 fellow authors of past and future memoirs have recorded and shared their memories in the new book, and they hope to encourage other members of the community to do the same for posterity.
â(Memoir writing) is how you share what you have thought, felt and experienced,â Group member June Hayden said of Greenup, later adding that she would have loved to have had such insight into this. who made his parents and grandparents who they were. “Writing memoir is about creating a legacy.”
The Past-Forward Memoir Writers group is organized by the Eastern Illinois University Academy of Lifelong Learning. Academy Director Marita Metzke shared her own thoughts, which she called “Grandpa’s Turnips”, as part of the new book. She said her grandfather taught long-lasting lessons in joy, integrity, hard work, love and sacrifice while spending time and sharing freshly picked and sliced ââturnips with her cubs -children on the farm.
Sunday’s event also included live music. Naomi Hills of Martinsville performed “In the Middle of a Song” in memory of Rick, her former Spirit Road bandmate. Casey’s John Crouch performed his song “The Hammock”, while his wife, Shelley, accompanied him on guitar. This song is about the hammock by the pond in their home.
Shelley Crouch said she joined the Past-Forward group a few years ago to spend time with her mother and passionate memoir writer Julie Rea, who passed away in 2020. She said she is part of Past-Forward and is learning getting to know other writers has been a great experience.
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âWhen people read their stories, it reminds you of the stories you have. By getting them to write you can pass them on,â Crouch said. “It’s a way of expressing yourself and remembering the good times and getting through the bad times.”
The Past-Forward Memoir Writers await the arrival of hard copies of âFor the Record,â which is available through Amazon. More information about the group is available by calling the Academy of Lifetime Learning at 217-581-5114.