Never Ending Story!

Chronicle’s Life Story quest:

With many people facing the prospect of social isolation we want to encourage people to connect by having conversations about their life stories. 

Social interaction of sorts and routine will be important.  We need to take care of older people in particular.  That’s why Chronicle has created the Life Story Quest to help make life in isolation more bearable!  We believe in social distancing, not social isolation.

The idea of joining our Life Story Quest is to encourage social interaction between friends, family and our Quest community either by email or phone, and to achieve something positive as an outcome.  Sharing life stories is a positive activity that supports mental health and well-being.  With kids off school, this provides an opportunity for learning and an intergenerational activity too.  At the end of the ‘Questers’ we will have created a life story that can be preserved and enjoyed in the future.

When we all emerge the other side of this episode, our future selves will look back at this time of challenge.  What will we think?  Participating in this Quest, will help you reduce isolation with friends and family and you can take comfort that you used some of the time to create something worthwhile.  You will have got to know your loved ones a little more and maybe learnt a few life lessons too.

We are being encouraged to contact older people, but often it can be difficult to know how to start a conversation – especially if you are speaking every day.  Many of life’s pleasures that we often chat about will be on-hold and the danger is we feel we have nothing to say, or we just talk about the news, and that is unlikely to be positive, at least for a while. 

The project aims are:

  • To combat loneliness amongst our self-isolating senior citizens
  • To learn from this generation (many of whom have amazing stories of resilience in adversity as well as humour in the darkest of hours)
  • To support our mental health and reduce anxiety
  • To create an opportunity for our own team to help those around us
  • To inspire others to get involved

At this stage, it’s just a ‘watch this space’, although Chronicle would of course value your thoughts. In particular they are looking at adding to our question deck. This is a resource to help relatives, friends or neighbours to best illicit those real gems of stories.

Humbugs after doodlebugs

I spoke with Mum yesterday.

She is in her early 70’s and lives alone (save Maisie her excitable Labrador).

She lives in a bungalow, in a cul-de-sac where most homes are occupied by a similar demographic.

She is pretty stoic, my Mum.

She explained to me that the neighbours are in good spirits. They’re supporting each other. They grew up with rationing. They grew up rebuilding a country ravaged by war (a country that to all intents and purposes was bankrupt), they grew up making their own entertainment. They are a generation who are used to ‘pulling together’ during tough times. We can learn from them!

… and it got me thinking we should capture and post these stories. We should learn and we should help stave off the potential loneliness of self-isolation by having more of these conversations. Obviously I have known my Mum for over 40+ years. I ask her when to plant certain vegetables or how to cook a certain meal but I never asked her specific questions about her young life. So I did. … and here is a snippet:

Running to the Clarendon Road shops, (Leicester) with my sisters. “Sweets are coming off rationing!” I lived in Leicester from the age of 3 – 7 so I reckon I was around 5. The whole country must have gorged on sweets because before long they were rationed again! Generally the food was awful. I still shudder at the thought of neck of lamb stew, with pearl barley floating in the grease. I was 9 or 10 before I tasted steak for the first time! Until then I had not realised that I actually liked the taste of meat. ‘Making do’ was the norm. I never had new clothes. Most came from my two older sisters, but also from other sources. I had a hideous maroon checked dressing gown with a twisted cord belt handed down from my cousin Arthur. I hated that dressing gown. … but I can’t tell you how good those sweets from the little shop on Clarendon Road tasted.

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