Thursday, May 31st 40 special friends and family members gathered together to wish my special graduates congratulations! Magdalena and Katrina (to the right) graduated from the Living a Legacy Series. They both had done such a fantastic job writing their life stories. I have enjoyed teaching them and listening to their beautiful life stories.
A Love Letter to Tammy Coia
As a group of six, we have come to you from different places in our lives. Two were recently retired and needed something to do. One of us was inspired to join your memoir writing classes by two friends who were already involved in your workshops. One of us had prior experience in another area and thought perhaps you might help her fashion something more out of her experiences, only to become enamored of memoir writing, and she began anew.
Some of us saw an article about your classes in the newspaper and because we already had it in the deep recesses of our minds to save our stories for our children and grandchildren, we checked out your website, and responded, some sooner and some later, with a phone call or an email. For others, the space of time we had always wanted for writing suddenly opened up, and we grabbed your coat tails for a magic ride.
What happened then was similar for all of us. We were all amateur writers, some more amateur than others, and we began slowly and tentatively to develop our life stories. Our stories ran the gambit of emotion; happy, sad, sometimes joyful and other times tragic. We learned a great deal about ourselves and that each of us had experienced some of those emotions. Tammy’s instruction triggered our thoughts, and gave us the courage to seek every avenue to motivate us to reach our goals. Her quiet professional guidance continued to pull us forward on our journeys. Tammy’s smile at the beginning of each class brought sunshine into our lives, her laughter sparkled around the table, and her warmth emanated intellectual and personal nourishment.
It was Tammy’s unconditional positive acceptance that led us down the path of finding ourselves, and we came to that understanding through the exercise of writing memoir. She never used critique as a teaching tool, thereby eliciting the best from each woman in a “no fear” environment. Tammy is a deeply caring individual who makes the atmosphere of her class non-threatening. Her ability to love and identify with each individual and her story is especially freeing. It made us want to share because we were in a safe environment.
We all believe our writing skills have improved, but other unexpected benefits have occurred. The six of us have attended the classes on a regular basis, writing, sharing our work with each other and, at the same time, sharing our lives, growing closer, and becoming a sisterhood. Not only have we helped each other grow within our writing, but we have learned that this group of women was willing to listen and contribute, care for us, and be nurtured by one another. Our sisterhood – now called “The Her*storians” – has agreed to continue meeting to encourage each other, to keep reaching, writing, growing, and one day complete our memoirs. Our sisterhood has grown into an astonishing connection. We all agree that this has been an amazing several months.
Now that we are at the end of these Master classes, we look back with happy hearts that we have been able to grow, even in the late stages of our lives. We owe our growth to Tammy, not just because she facilitated these classes, but also because she made us a little taller and more confident in ourselves. We take with us a better understanding of ourselves and a beautiful group of stories that our children and grandchildren will have to read when they are adults and we are gone. We take with us friends that we can laugh with, cry with, and be ourselves.
Thank you, Tammy, for giving us such a meaningful gift.
Thank you, Tammy, for making our lives richer.
Thank you, Tammy! We believe that we owe our future in writing to you.
You have been the “wind beneath our wings.”
Now, watch us fly!
Fondly, The Her*storians,