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Your LifeStory Episode 5

Jonathan Feinn

"This is wonderful, Marcia."

Karen C.

"Thanks for so many nice comments. What great publicity for my books."

Elizabeth C.

"Wow, Thanks Marcia, Inspires me."

Gary S.

This Blog* and My Memoir Workbook are meant to encourage, inspire and motivate you to write your unique story. Don’t keep your memories hidden or secret any longer.

Marcia Rosen, Author of 11 books, including My Memoir Workbook, has presented Memoir Writing Programs and Encouraging the Writer Within You Presentations for over 16 years, from New York to California and New Mexico!

My Newest Book, "Murder at the Zoo" is now available

A LifeStory Memory

Each Blog shares a portion of someone else’s LifeStory that we hope will entertain and inspire you to write and share your own.

Submit yours with your name and email to:

July 1, 2023

On a cold morning in 1942, a tonsillectomy was performed on a boy of five in a hospital in Chicago. The child arrived at the hospital and was never told the purpose of the trip. I was that child who was wheeled to the operating room, and I can still recall the feelings of terror and helplessness I felt. That traumatic event was followed by other hospitalizations and an appendectomy when I was nine. These early experiences impacted my feelings of self-confidence throughout my life; I became fearful of many boys at school who seemed so confident about their developing physical strength and several in elementary school found enjoyment in terrorizing me on the playground. As I moved through the elementary school years and on to junior high and high school, I felt extremely unhappy with my body image. I was overweight, clumsy, and lonely and was always the last one picked in PE class on any team.

At home, my mother was complimentary about my ability to avoid physical encounters in school with other boys. I had a close emotional connection to her, but my relationship with my father was more distant, and I don’t remember him ever holding me or hugging me as a young child. My mother was overprotective, perhaps in part related to her loss of a boy in utero prior to my birth. My father was handsome, smart, and respected for his intellect and academic accomplishments. After the war, he started his own legal practice, and when I was in college, he taught me over several summers how to cite legal precedents in the law as he was preparing to file various briefs.

In late childhood, I had fantasies of operating on other boys who I found attractive. They were always boys or young men who had well-proportioned bodies and exuded self-confidence in their growing strength. In contrast, I was an overweight child addicted to sweets and disliked my body type. Given the intolerant attitudes in the 1990s toward those of us experiencing different feelings, I lived with my private fantasies and was terrified of ever having to share them or my feelings with anyone. In late adolescence, I did confess some of those feelings and my loneliness to several therapists. All my energy was spent on building a career, but I continued to feel a deep distance from most of my peers and believed I was a failure in life. In my narrow view, there was only one path to leading a successful life. It required marriage to a woman, a respected career, and the opportunity to be a parent. Accepting myself as a gay man didn’t happen until I reached my early fifties, and so I’ve written about my life. It is my hope that by sharing some of my experiences and memories it will be of help to others who suffer for years in silence. Change is possible. Happiness is possible. So is love.


By Jonathan Feinn

Bits and Pieces of Your Life

Write 100 words or less about a funny situation, a strange or unique happening, or a “meet cute” story you experienced.

On a trip to Thailand, a country I had visited previously, I unexpectedly met a young man one evening while walking in a park in central Bangkok. This young man, who was twenty-five years younger than me, had grown up in Sri Lanka and left his country hurriedly with a few other friends because of their political activities in college. Each of their names was on a government ‘hit list’.

Meeting Ravi quite unexpectedly on that beautiful December evening in Bangkok, led to a life commitment that began 35 years ago and has brought me deep happiness. We were married many years after we met, but I still remember our first date. It happened at a dine-in Dairy Queen located just outside the park where we first met. It was the first time he’d ever been to one and I ordered root beer floats for both of us. I remember his leaving most of the float unfinished on the table, and I only learned years later he disliked the taste of root beer. It’s been good for a laugh!

Writing Your LifeStory Hints, Tips, and Advice


How to write one’s LifeStory? Writing a memoir can be a daunting and, at times, emotional experience. It is also exciting, fulfilling and rewarding. A memoir is a true story you tell about specific events, experiences or times in your life. You can write about the whole span of your life or one specific episode.

Why Are You Writing Your Life Story?

To Remember You…To Think About You…To Give Voice to Your Life

To Leave a Legacy for Your Loved Ones, Friends and Others

To Inspire, Motivate and Encourage

To Grieve…To Heal…To Release Yourself From Hurts, Pains and Sorrows

To Tell Your Truths…To Make Others Accountable to Their Truths

To Search for Answers…To Understand Them

To Find Comfort

To Find Joy and Celebration in All You Are and All You Have Done

To Honor Your Accomplishments

More hints, tips, advice, and my story are in each blog.

New Special Feature

Stories About the Fabric of Life

by Elizabeth Cooke

Those we meet in life and come to love and share, become part of who we are - our essence - our soul. Without them, each of us is less. They are the fabric of a life - color, pattern, mystery, intrigue – love. They will never leave. The fabric of a life the others before us who have gone have given, is so great in their passing. They are no longer here – yet always here.

Nothing can touch the dancing of the hula on a Hawaiian beach – or a Paris street, after an extra glass of red wine – or taking a daunting walk on a glacier at the top of the world - nor even a warm Quiche Lorraine on a sunny day in a Paris bistro. Each person has an impact, not just socially but intrinsically - in the soul…interweaving the texture, adjusting the fabric, creating a new pattern, and embracing the rhythm of daily life.

This feature will continue for several months with many personal stories., Author of “A Letter”

Following is part of my LifeStory:

My Gangster Father and Me (Excerpt )

Our Family Business

None of us are innocent. We all keep secrets about who we are and the things we know. In my case, I have been able to put these past family peccadilloes and experiences to use. No doubt, thanks to who my father was, it seems writing mysteries is in my DNA!

After his career as a bookie and owner of a gambling establishment, he owned the Italian Restaurant and Bar in which my boyfriend and his buddies loved to stop in and visit with my Dad. He treated them to meals, kindness, and advice. When I think back about it, I know I liked being there, my father being the owner, the waitresses, bartenders, and even some of the patrons, treating me with extra attention. I also know it was more, I liked some elements of living in my father’s darker world.

It was obvious to me he felt and acted like a big man, making big money and big connections. He and his long-time business partner made it into a successful place to eat and drink in a great location on the main street. They would take turns working nights, my dad often coming home at 3 or 4 in the morning after closing, putting a wad of bills on his dresser.

There were plenty of mobsters in upstate New York well as Niagara Falls. There was a major crime family living in the area. I researched articles proving their existence. There are plenty of stories about who they were and what they were involved in, I have no doubt my father knew many of them. My father once told my older son about his having been approached by some powerful local mobsters. I’m sure he enjoyed telling my son stories of his past, reliving some of his personal glory days. Circumstances and age had changed his life, I know he told him much more, those are more of the secrets. He was offered various legitimate and other opportunities to make a lot more money. He refused for reasons known only to him and they left him alone.

There are so many happy and loving snapshot memories I have. When I was seven and eight, I remember him taking me to baseball games, holding my hand, so proud of me. I remember him hugging me before my first prom date and smiling affectionately at me at my sweet sixteen-birthday party. My father adored me. The kaleidoscope of fond memories of him often sustains me. The truth of his love and affection for me and for my sons is always with me. I can almost feel him with me, helping me to silence the negative voices in my head. He made me feel I mattered. What a generous gift. According to Socrates: the way a person is taught, will determine the rest of their life. I can still picture my dad handing me candy bars in his gambling hall, I can still picture him dressed in fancy suits with a matching hanky in his breast pocket, of him standing in front of his bar, of the world he lived in and I grew up in, for better or worse. We’re too often concerned about being judged, but it shouldn’t matter. I know for better or worse, I’m my father’s daughter.

For more stories about me and my gangster father, check out the book The Gourmet Gangster.

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Charlene Dietz
Charlene Dietz
Jul 01, 2023

Marcia, another engaging episode of your Senior Sleuths, Life Stories. I look forward to each of these. Thank you!

Charlene Bell Dietz

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