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Your LifeStory Episode 8

Darrow Woods

"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:

August 18, 2023


For a few months in 1986 I lived in Sumter County Georgia, and slept in an old farmhouse that had bullet holes in the walls. I also met former President Jimmy Carter, and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

The Carters, as well as their Secret Service detail came to visit while I was summer intern at Koinonia Farm, which is about 10 miles from Plains. Koinonia was founded in 1942 as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.” The bullet holes in the farmhouse walls were from the years in which their neighbors objected to their efforts towards racial integration. You can read about the inspiring history and ongoing mission of Koinonia at:

The Carters rode their bicycles from Plains to join us for Sunday afternoon worship. Their security detail did not ride bikes. They had a lead car and a following van. Each agent had the ear bud with the curly-wired leads we’ve seen in the movies, that went down under their collared shirts, over which they all wore matching blue blazers, which tastefully hid their holstered weapons. As I remember, there were 4 agents, who placed themselves near the exits of the dining hall where we met for worship.

The Carters were as gracious as you’d expect, and Mr. Carter extended an invitation for the following Sunday, for our intern group to attend his Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. Five years after the Carters left the White House, people flocked to Plains to attend. When we pulled into the church parking lot in the Koinonia van, the same one we used to run to town to pick up groceries (and the occasional clandestine case of beer) we saw license plates from almost every state.

On that day, Mr. Carter taught about the ancient history of Israel, with many references to the Camp David accords, and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process. Before the formal lesson, Mr. Carter introduced the Koinonia summer interns. He said all of our names and told the large crowd (there were hundreds in the auditorium) where we were from.

When he got to me, he noted I was the sole Canadian. He said he continued to be grateful for the involvement of Canada in the rescue of American diplomats from Tehran in 1980. I received a handshake from a former president, and an enthusiastic round of applause from those gathered in that church auditorium. Thirty years later, I told that story to my daughter, and she quoted me as a primary source for a high school history paper.

It’s hard to say which was the greater honor. is a link to read a preview of my new book is the website of the church I serve is where my faith related writing ends up. is where I connect with people. chronicles my search for clues about mystery fiction, and the mystery of life.

Writing Your LifeStory Hints, Tips, and Advice

Find your LifeStory. Look through any journals or even a diary you might have written in over the years. You might want to look through old newspapers about specific dates or events and google search your family history. Again, it’s important to remind yourself of people and places you experienced, you liked and didn’t like and why.

Ask questions. Talk to people who have known you a long time. What can you ask family? What can friends remember? Like any good detective, listen carefully to what people answer, make notes of their responses and compare with what you know to be true.

Create a picture of your life. Describe how the people looked, behaved and treated you. Make a list of important things that happened to you, how old were you? Be honest about your feelings and emotions so you can help the reader understand and connect to what you experienced.



by Elizabeth Cooke

R. V. H.

Richard was ambitious and he was talented. . He was even chosen by Jacqueline Kennedy to help decorate some of the private rooms in the White House! Quite a coup! I met him while at Vassar.

Richard and I spent much time together and ofna Saturday, he would sneak the two of us down to New York to see the latest Broadway play or hit a jazz joint where I heard Billie Holiday sing in a drug-filled husky voice – or Mugsy Spanier playing at The Village Vanguard – or Miles Davis playing at Teddy Butler’s Harlem Jazz Club

Richard Vincent Hare was a constant friend. We were in London. There was a call on the phone from the lobby. A British voice - the concierge – in formal tones, said “Madame, Lord Hare is here and wishes to speak with you.” Of course,” I said – in shock. ‘LORD Hare?’ Then, Richard’s voice, as pompous as ever I heard it, asked “Are you ready to join me?”

My answer was a resounding “YES” and down I went, wearing a dark gray suit. Richard was standing by the elevator, awaiting me, more dapper than ever I’d seen him – with vest, handsome walking stick and highly polished shoes. Indeed, he looked the Lord!

Off we went first to a ladies hat shop where he bought me a straw hat with roses on top. “All well-to-do English ladies wear hats,” he explained. Then we had a luscious lunch of chicken pie with a golden crust and white wine – for Lord and LADY Hare. “Lady Hare?” I exclaimed. We had tea at The Hotel Chesterfield Mayfair with crumpets and scones and strawberry jam – and, of course, strong tea. The British servitors treated us like royalty – which we were for a day. It felt like we were in an English play. Lord and Lady Hare.

* * *

Who else? Lord and Lady Hare!

Thank you, Richard.

It was Richard Vincent Hare’s final name change. To me he remains Lord Hare forever.

And for me... Lady Hare? Well, she’s part of me.

She always will be.

Following is part of my LifeStory:

My Gangster Father and Me (Excerpt )


Polio was a terrible and terrifying illness reaching huge numbers of people, especially children in the 40s and 50s. Many children affected were taken to a hospital and placed in an iron lung. If they survived the disease, many became disabled or partially disabled for life. The experience of being in an iron lung left most with huge emotional scars. Highly contagious, there were several thousand deaths from the disease. In the 1950s, a successful vaccine was created by Dr. Jonas Salk and another at a later date by Dr. Albert Sabin. They were developed later than what would have prevented me from having polio.

Later than what would have prevented President Franklin D. Roosevelt from being stricken by the disease in 1921. Paralyzed from the waist down, he visited Warm Springs, Georgia in 1924. A last hope. An attraction known for its soothing water, a constant 88 degrees, he founded the institute there in 1927. Others suffering from polio also went there for care and hopefully a cure from the healing water treatments known as hydrotherapy. While comforting and helpful, the springs did not cure.

Roosevelt gained strength from the therapy, ultimately returning to politics. There are books written about his struggle with the illness, including a wonderful new book by Jonathan Darman, “Becoming FDR: The Personal Crisis That Made A President.” He writes how his struggle with polio affected how he dealt with the country’s struggles while he was president. He never did walk again without help. He was a life-long victim of the disease.

I was more fortunate.

I was eight years old and would spend the next three months in bed, not allowed to walk, not allowed to go out, not allowed to have any friends visit me. I could not have imagined its immense impact on my entire life. It’s difficult to know what the impact will be after experiencing something negative, no matter what. It’s only later when some of the pain or grief has cleared do we understand their lasting effects. Of course, it’s up to each person to determine how we want and can recover from any negative experience. Resilience and reinvention. I love these two words and all they imply.

As for my experience with polio, when I was finally well and allowed out, the first thing my father did was buy me a two-wheel bike and teach me how to ride it. He would go up and down the street with me, holding on to the bike until I managed it on my own. Children in the neighborhood were told by their parents not to play with me, to stay away from me. The polio epidemic had gripped the country and wove its fear throughout many neighborhoods, including mine. Grateful for my recovery, there was my father giving me courage, giving me life-long lessons in determination and taking risks. Afterall, riding the bike after not walking all those months was a risk. My father made it possible.

This was such a defining moment in my life, learning to ride the bike. As kids kept their distance, I would say to myself, “I’ll show them.” That phrase has often been with me throughout my life and my careers. Here I am, in what I consider the winter of my life, and I still repeat the phrase at times. My father made me believe I could do whatever I wanted, to not be afraid. Being an only child, I think he gave me all the encouragement he could share with a daughter.

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

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