DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away four weeks ago. Last night, I sat my three children down and read them my mother's life story from birth through 12th grade. As a graduation requirement for Ironton High School in Ironton, Ohio, in 1940, she had to write her life story.
She wrote about kindergarten, her best friends, neighbors, favorite games she played as a child, her religious testimony, her first crush, first time wearing makeup, first date, prom, and best Thanksgiving in a horse-and-buggy carriage going to my great-grandmother's farm in Kentucky. The vivid descriptions she wrote of herself as a young girl are so rich and beautifully clear in our minds today. What a gift this has been to me, my brothers and sisters and our children. Of all the possessions she left, her story is our most meaningful and precious treasure.
Abby, I'm writing this letter to suggest that high school English teachers today consider such an assignment. -- CAROL JEAN CLICK HARDISON'S DAUGHTER "SUE" IN GEORGIA
DEAR SUE: Your dear mother's writing project is a priceless memento, and the idea is certainly worth mentioning. The senior year of high school is a logical time to pause and take stock before beginning the great leap forward to adulthood. Not only would the subject be something with which the writer is intensely familiar -- it would offer many opportunities for creativity.