Families are rich in history and some of the best stories can be found in your very own backyard.
Digging into your familial past can be a great way to unearth a story. My great-grandmother was a Vaudeville actress in England who moved to New York in the early 1900’s to resume her career on the stage. Remnants of her life are left behind in copies of family letters. One day, her letters stopped and an ad was placed in the New York clipper in an attempt to locate her.
I can piece together the events of her life through these letters. I will never know the truth of how she lived or what happened to her, but hidden in the words of this vague record, I have uncovered the groundwork of a story. Some families have accurate details of their history; others may only be able to catch a glimpse into their ancestors’ lives. If we don’t have all the pieces, our imagination can go to work to fill in the rest and this is where the fun begins. Even with only minute details, we have the foundation of a story.
Here is a link to a small excerpt from the story of my great-grandmother: Exit Stage Left. It is a true account of my journey to find her.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.