STOW: Every Thursday morning at Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library a group of women gather for one very important purpose: to share family stories, in order to keep them for future generations.
According to the Stow library’s website, the group isn’t recognized as an official writers group, but as a “heartwarming way to keep cherished stories alive.”
The group, which began in 2000, is made up of members with a vast array of backgrounds including: nurses, teachers, lawyers, college professors, housewives, secretaries, coal miners and daughters of ministers.
The mission of the group is to write a story weekly. Under the program Oasis, former group leader Sara Throop, who is now deceased, started meeting with other like-minded storytellers at Chapel Hill Mall.
“We all preserve these stories in a manner that best suits our families. Some email each story to their children and grandchildren as they are written. [The writer] knows that they will be read and not just put on a shelf,” coordinator Margaret Heath said.
The number of writers who take part in this cathartic exercise vary each week, but the group is open to anyone willing to share his or her story.
“At the end of a session each of us print out some of our favorite stories for each class member, which they take home and put into a notebook folder with clips to make their own memory book,” Heath said.
As the oldest member of a large family, Heath said that she realized that when she died these stories would be lost forever and that she owed it to the generations to come to write about the past.
Heath said she has heard a wide range of stories from World War II in England to what it is like to be the wife of an undertaker or a country doctor.
The group has provided a unique support group for the women involved.
“We have bonded into an extremely close and supportive group, seeing our friends through illnesses and death. We find great strength in seeing each other once a week. We have shared stories with each other that we have never shared with anyone else,” Heath said.
Heath said the group often feels like a family.
“We all feel like a family, closer that our biological families,” Heath said. “We can share anything without worrying of arguments. We are very uplifting of each other.”