By Isiah REYES
Memoirs and More, a lifelong learning course offered by Glendale Community College, has been changing the lives of seniors by helping them develop writing skills and open up about their past and placing it in a present perspective.
Meredith Rish, the class facilitator, said the class is like a support group where people can talk about personal events that have happened in their lives in a very supportive environment.
“It helps people learn how to deal with the changes of getting older and the variations of lifestyle,” Rish said. “It also aids in depression because people have a chance to be able to talk about and write down things that are buried that they are afraid to share or that they’re brooding over. And just by expressing it, the result is a lot of healing.”
Generally, about 22 to 25 people show up to class per week with about 38 registered. They come from different walks of life. There are regulars, but sometimes people travel and miss class.
One assignment they’re doing is to write down where they were born and under what circumstances, the nicknames they had, the schools they attended, and coaches they remembered, with the purpose of discussing them around the class to awaken memories and interactions.
Aside from talking about their own life, they also hope to obtain new writing skills to improve and increase the ability to write creatively in different formats. There is a warm up period at the beginning of class for those who are not accustomed to writing on a regular basis.
Rish said sometimes the class can get personal.
“There is a strict request that nothing is shared outside the walls of the classroom,” Rish said, “unless somebody chooses to write that story and put it in the anthology.”
The anthology is a book the class produces every semester containing selected stories and poems. Patricia Wilson, a member of the memoir group and past editor of the memoir anthology, has been a part of the group for about seven or eight years. She said there have been cases when people talk about instances in their life that they have never spoken about.
“It’s been a wonderful organization and it’s the most successful memoir group that I’ve ever participated in,” Wilson said.
The class is part of the College Lifelong Learning Seminars program. It meets every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Sparr Heights Senior Center, 1613 Glencoe Way.