Have some extra time on your hands these days?

Turn off the TV and pick up your pen or rev up your computer, and start writing your legacy…your life. It’s the best gift you can give your loved ones, and there’s no better time than right now to begin.

In 2014, I started helping seniors write their stories in manageable chunks of memories that matter. In just the past year alone, a group of faithful Legacy Writers have spun their own tales from the dozens of Story Starters listed at the bottom of this post.

Here’s one for today. Give it a try: Finish the sentence. Then continue writing whatever comes to mind for the next five minutes. Don’t edit; just write.

This week’s Story Starter:

When I think of my best friend, I see….

Later, expand your five minute “vomit draft” into a full story–one with a beginning, a middle and an end. Give it a title; save it, print it and place it in your Legacy book. A simple three-ring binder works great, as does a hand-written journal.

Whichever method you choose, in no time at all you will have created a collection of short vignettes that tell a story unique to you. It’s a little piece of yourself that will delight you, the writer, as much as it will the family and friends with whom you share it.

Sharing Your Story

This is the hard part right now. We Legacy Writers love to share our stories, and we’ve become isolated from one another in this “Stay at Home” season. But not for long! I hope to see those of you in the current Legacy Writing class right on schedule in a new, online meeting format beginning April 8th.

Meanwhile, keep–or start–writing. Your story is the best legacy you can leave for your loved ones. It won’t cost you a dime, can’t be lost when the stock market crashes, and will be treasured, not tossed, by your heirs.

And So….

Fresh Story Starters will be posted here weekly. Here are all of last year’s for new Legacy Writers:


  • One scent or sound that takes me back to my childhood….
  • My first best friend….
  • My first kiss….
  • My favorite past time as a child was to….
  • The naughtiest thing I ever did….
  • Oh, how I used to love to….
  • S&H Green Stamps….
  • My childhood bedroom…. [and the view from it]
  • Our first house cost….
  • My first car….
  • My first job….
  • My first love….
  • The ancestors I knew best as a child…. [Choose one & write your favorite memories of him/her.]
  • I was first attracted to….
  • As a teenager I was….
  • My mother’s cooking….
  • Bulleted list: Things we used to do [or have] in the olden days that our grandkids wouldn’t understand.
  • My favorite bands as a teenager were…. [and the songs they sang]
  • The naughtiest kid in my school….


  • My 2020 Word-of-the-Year (WOY) is….
  • My most treasured Valentines Day memories are from….
  • When I look outside and see the greens of spring…. 
  • My favorite Easter memories….
  • The most important lesson I learned from my mother….
  • The most important lesson I learned from my father…
  • Summertime weddings make me….
  • Things I love about summer….
  • The perfect summer day….
  • I remember the 4th of July when….
  • My best memories of the Minnesota State [or County] Fair….
  • When I think of starting school in the fall, I think of….
  • On 9/11 I was….
  • The Halloween Blizzard of 1991….
  • Thanksgiving Dinner….
  • One of my favorite Christmas memories….
  • Christmas dinner….
  • Over the years, my New Year resolutions….


  • If I could write….
  • If I had three wishes, they would be….
  • When I was a kid, I thought God was…. Now I believe….
  • The family tradition I would most like to pass on….
  • My life changed when….
  • Love is…
  • Right now, I am most grateful for….
  • If there was a potluck, I’d most likely bring….
  • My most sacred place….
  • Right now, the world is in a panic over the Coronavirus. I am….
  • I want to be remembered as a….

If you’re comfortable doing so, share a little bit of your story in the Comment Section below.


  • Mary, Mary, Mary, where will I find the time to write on these prompts! So many good ones. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mary,
    As the only male in your Andover YMCA writing class I thought I would share a writing class prompt story from 7/10/2019.

    The most important lesson I learned from my father…

    My father was not much of a talker. I don’t remember him ever telling me that he loved me although it was obvious that he did. Mom would always do her shopping in town on Saturday’s. That would leave us boys home alone with Dad, a good thing. Dad, I think was proud of his potato soup. It may have been the only thing he knew or would cook, we had it often when Mom was gone. I wish that I could sit down with him now and enjoy his soup again. We ate it with gusto. One Saturday he added hot peppers to his recipe. That didn’t exactly go over very well but we ate it anyway. I enjoy hot foods now and would like to try his hot potato soup again. As unusual as it may sound on making those soups he was showing his love for us. Love may be expressed in many ways, without realizing it he taught me how to show love, still I miss those words he could have spoken.


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