Life Stories
From Reno to the Azores

Camilla Wall Lee

When going through a carton marked “writing,” I’m surprised at the number of personal essays inside, each one placed in a manila folder.  They were written for no one in particular other than my writing group.  As each is a “stand alone” memoir piece, I’d put them away and forgotten about them. But here they are.

Spreading them out chronologically on the floor, I realize I have a timeline of my life in front of me, starting in 1950 when I was seven. The years chronicled begin with the appearance of television and end with cell phones and iPads. I re-read the recollections I’d put on paper and am inspired to publish a collection of stories for family and friends. There is a history here, not mine alone, but also of world events. I begin to edit, revise, compile, and create a legacy for the next generation. My memory for details has always been good. Perhaps not always accurate, but the pictures in my mind of events in these essays feel very clear.

The fifty years of photographs I have in crumbling albums do capture the years, but the pictures have faded. The crisp digital images buried in my computer might never be discovered after I’m gone. But unlike photographs, the written word survives.


Camilla Lee, May, 2019

Camilla Lee lives on the coast in Narragansett, Rhode Island with her cat and her dog.