A life well lived

Black and white photograph of a farmhouse with a thatched roof

Over the last couple of months I have been working on a big new project. A 90 year old neighbour has asked whether I would help him to write his life story, including service with the Suffolk Regiment. I felt very honoured to have been asked.

We meet most weeks, chatting about past times and looking at some lovely old family photographs, and I have been lent some older photo albums so that I can scan some of the images from his childhood.
We now have over 50,000 words transcribed and new stories are being added every week. The next stage of the process has been to organise those stories into a rough chronological order to create some chapters, currently we have about sixteen chapters of around 2,000 words each but, as new memories surface, one chapter might morph into two chapters with shorter time frames.
Additional internet research has allowed me to add in further details to give a historical context and I also feel very privileged to have been lent family photograph albums so that I can scan old prints to include in the finished story.
It is all starting to take shape now; working drafts of the first eight chapters are progressing well and more chapters are getting to that stage of development each week. It's going to be an interesting story once completed.
Photograph. 'Plate 94: Houses and Cottages with Thatched Roofs', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3, North East (London, 1922), p. 94. British History Online

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