Probably the best present I ever bought…and got.

If you’ve read here long enough you know how much I love StoryWorth.  They’ve sponsored weekly wrap-ups and helped keep things running and this week they bought an ad so I could buy 8 more coats for kids for the James Garfield Miracle.  I also love them because they gave me the best Xmas present ever, a book filled with stories from my father.

Here’s how it works…StoryWorth emails a new question every week to whoever you gift with a StoryWorth subscription.  (You get to help pick the questions you are most interested in.)  The person responds with the answers and every week you get an email with wonderful/terrifying/baffling stories you never knew.  Then at the end of the year StoryWorth prints it up into a hardcover keepsake book.  Right now it’s just $59.  I cannot recommend it enough and I thought I’d share a few of the recent stories I’ve gotten from my dad because they are amazing and also insane:

What are your favorite memories of each of your children growing up?

We lived in Austin when Jenny was born. I was in the Air Force protecting all of you draft dodgers. My bravery showed itself everyday when I would go to work, sit at a desk all day, and do paperwork. This was during the Vietnam war and I couldn’t even get a medal for a paper cut.

I remember that once while we were traveling, Jenny was not having a good time, and she started crying. Nelda was trying to calm her down, but the crying persisted. I, being a tough Sargent in the Air Force, told Nelda to just let her cry it out. Nelda told me that if she would let her cry, Jenny would make herself sick. Seconds later, Jenny throw up all over me. That’s when I realized Jenny outranked me.

Lisa is my youngest. She’s not only my daughter, she’s my little boy. She loved to go fishing and hunting with me, and she loved all the wild animals I would bring home. Lisa was not afraid of anything. She didn’t ask questions all the time. It seemed like she knew all the answers. You had to watch what you said around her, because it would get back to her momma.

One day I made some rifle targets out of metal. I cut them out in the shape of buffalos. They were anatomically correct buffalo bulls. I welded on a 5/16 hex nut in the appropriate place. Lisa helped me paint her new targets and observed the additions that I had welded on. “Daddy. What’s that?” I couldn’t lie to Lisa. “Baby Girl, that’s a 5/16 hex nut.” No more questions from Lisa. She bought it. That’s my boy!

Lisa was five years old and she had her own 22 rifle that I had miniaturized for her and we painted it pink. We set up her herd of buffalos and loaded her rifle. She was a good shot, soon she was killing buffalos. Momma was standing at the back door, watching the excitement. Lisa ran out to set the targets back up, but brought one bull back with her.

She had made a marginal shot on the buffalo but had managed to knock the welded part off.

Lisa ran to momma with news of her accomplishment. “Momma, Momma! I knocked its “NUT” off! Nelda screamed at me, “Henry, What are you teaching this girl?”

Once I went to the feed store and they had just got in some baby turkeys. I always wanted to get some turkeys for the kids (and me). I heard that turkeys were hard to raise, so instead of buying four, I brought home 18.

I guess I was just lucky or something, but all 18 turkeys lived. They all grew and they loved the kids. Jenny and Lisa loved them too when the birds were little, but they keep growing.

It wasn’t long before the 18 little turkeys weighed about 15 pounds each. Being followed by these stupid pet turkeys was beginning to be not as much fun. The girls wouldn’t go outside if the turkeys were around.

Jenny and Lisa attended Fairview School. It was located about 100 yards from our front door. I know it must have been a real hardship for these two little girls on the prairie, but they had to walk to school. They had to make sure the turkeys didn’t follow them.

One day near the end of school it was pretty hot inside the old school house so the teachers opened the front doors to enjoy the breeze. This just happened to be the day that the turkeys got lonesome for the girls. They strutted over to the front door of the school and since the doors were open, they realized it was an invitation to come in.

The janitor had just waxed the hall floors and the turkeys found them quite slippery. The turkeys were not potty trained and the slippery floors scared the turkey poop out of them.

The door to Jenny’s class was open and turkeys started flocking in. Jenny and Lisa were asked to escort their foul poultry home.

The turkeys were gone by the start of the next school year, and I had made a promise (under duress) to Nelda that there would be no more turkeys. Well, guess what had just arrived at the feed store? I only bought 6.

Tell me about one of the best days you can remember.

The best day that I can remember. My Mom died. Does that make any sense? I’ll try to explain it.

My mom was 68 years old when she died. She was 27 when I was born. When my Mom was 47 years old, she had an operation. The operation went okay, but she was given some bad blood in the transfusion. She got Hepatitis.

The doctor gave her 3 years to live.

Momma lived with a lot of pain. She constantly ate crushed ice just to ease the burning from the liver sorosis. She never drank alcohol, but she was dying from a disease that kills many old drunks.

Momma’s stomach was super extended and she had terrible pain in her legs from the knees to her feet. She would wrap them as tight as she could, but the pain did not go away. I would rub her feet, but I don’t think it eased the pain that much.

I stayed with her in the hospital there at the end. She couldn’t talk to me anymore. She was like in a trance. She kept repeating, Oh Yes Dear Lord. Oh Yes Dear Lord.  She was ready to go home to Jesus.

I was watching E.T The Extraterrestrial on TV. E.T. was dying and the little boy was brokenhearted. The little boy, with tears in his eyes, asked his fading friend, “Will I ever see you again?” E.T. slowly raised his glowing finger and placed it on the boy’s temple. He said, “I’ll be right here.” I couldn’t hold the tears back. My Mom was talking to me thru E.T.

The next morning my mother was gone. Her body was cold. She was no longer in pain.

I realized that my pain of losing my mother slowly diminished over time, but I still remember her vividly. She is right there where E.T. said she would be.


What gives you peace of mind?

Watching old cowboys movies with my dad 60 years ago made me feel secure.

My dad made sure that we got home from town on Saturday night well before 6 p.m. The lineup was The Texan, Have Gun Will Travel, and Gunsmoke.

I remember getting up on my Daddy’s lap while he settled back in his recliner. Daddy would hand-roll a Bull Durham cigarette and let me lick the paper. Then we would watch cowboys, and I would play with the heavy smoke layer suspended in the den. Only during commercials. Sometimes Daddy would blow smoke rings for me.

As I remember these cherished times, I have peace of mind. I feel security, love, and purpose. I was relaxed after a hard day of playing, someone carried me to my bed, and I slept with a peaceful mind…and my teddy bear.

What is one of the most selfless things you have done in life?

A couple of years ago, Nelda and I were going to a movie around Christmas time. Nelda parked the car and I stepped out of the passenger seat. There was a large western wallet sitting on the asphalt just inches from our car’s rear tire. I opened the wallet and was shocked to find six brand new hundred dollar bills.   We checked at the concession stand to see if anyone had reported losing a wallet but no one had.

We looked thru the wallet to identify the owner. There was a picture of a teenage cheerleader wearing a uniform from Sonora High School and a young boy’s drivers license in the wallet. The address showed him to be from Big Lake.

Nelda and I called the sheriff from Sutton county. He was a friend of mind. I told him about the wallet, and he gave me the number for the school superintendent.

The school superintendent from Sonora forwarded the info to the girl, she called the boys mom, who me immediately. Her son was frantic and was currently at IHOP.  I told them I was on my way.

When I walked into IHOP, most customers looked my direction. I knew some of them. Others thought they knew me, cuz I was dressed like Santa Claus. Three teenage boys sat quietly at a back table. They weren’t happy. I sat down at the table next to them, ordered some water, and sat there for another minute.

I asked them “Why the long faces?” One kid told me that he had lost his wallet.

“Was there any money in it?”

“Yes sir. About six hundred dollars.”

“Wow, what did it look like?  Did it look like this one?”

The boy, about 16, almost cried.  They thanked me and said that they would continue to believe in Santa.

A few days later, the kids mom sent me a thank you letter. She said her faith in humanity was restored, and her belief in Santa was refreshed

I don’t know if I could call this incident selfless, cuz I received a great deal of pleasure being part of it.

A quick explanation: my dad volunteers as Santa every year in December and often forgets to take off the outfit.


How has your life turned out differently than you imagined it would?

I can’t imagine how my life would be different than it turned out. Everything in my life has been a surprise or a disappointment. Things that I had prepared for (or planned for) never turned out with the expected results. Nature got in the way. Finances (or lack of money) stood in the way. My changing dreams and changing ambitions changed the way. My faith ,and sometimes lack of faith, choose a different way.peace, sickness, and good health shaped my life. Good fortune and hardships took me on roads that I figured I would never travel, and see things that were unseeable.

I imagined that I would be a cowboy, tall in the saddle, riding a black horse with a long white mane and tail. I am tall (5ft. 16inches). I wear boots, and I have a barn full of old antique saddles. I have not rode on any of them. Real cowboys wore them out for me. I have dozens of spurs, but I have never put one on. My only horse is stabled in my shed and may never run again. I call him Penny Pony. He was a beautiful coin operated Mustang rescued from an amusement park in San Antonio. I put him out to pasture, but some day God willing I will get him galloping for the grandkids and great grandkids. They will all be cow-pokes. I will paint Penny Pony black with a white mane and tail. Or maybe I won’t.

I imagined that some day I would get married. I never imagined that it would be to Nelda. She was already spoken for,and I knew that there was not another girl like her. I couldn’t imagine that the whole world could change to allow me to have her as my wife.

I couldn’t imagine that we would have such beautiful children. Our children are pretty on the outside, and they are even prettier on the inside. Can you imagine that?

I went to college off and on for 10 years. I have almost got enough hours for three degrees, but I never graduated. Life got in the way. Or maybe Life took the reins and led me where I was supposed to go instead of where I thought I should go.

Every course that I took in College gave me pieces of information that brought me here. I didn’t get a diploma, but I got a lifetime supply of life lessons.

Before I’m gone, I’m going to organize all this junk, and finish all the projects that I have started but never finished. Unless Life gets in the way.


What was your favorite tv program when you were a child?

Our TV was broken a lot. Volume control worked good, but channel selector dial wore out quickly. We had a pair on vise-grip pliers permanently attached to the channel selector cuz the knob wore out. The rabbit ears antenna were always sagging, and I had to hold them up so we could get a picture. That was my job. Sonny, stand by the TV and hold that antenna.

I think that’s why I got such bad eyesight. Momma would say, “Sonny, don’t stand so close to the TV. You’ll ruin your eyes! Oh, I see you’re holding the Rabbit. Well, Stand over to the side a little. You’re blocking Lucy.”

One day I got an idea to make my antenna job easier. I got a piece of used tinfoil ( tinfoil was too expensive to use just one time). I attached each end of the fishy smelling tinfoil to each ear of the rabbit antenna. Not only did this keep the ears up, but the reception got better too. My momma thought her son was a genius. She picked up the phone to call my aunt Marcella and spread the news of her inventive son. She was delayed becuz we had a party line and it was busy. You never knew how long someone would be using the phone, so Momma would just listen in so she wouldn’t waste any airtime. We couldn’t have the volume up on the TV, cuz she didn’t want to interrupt anybodies private phone call. Before Momma was able to spread the news of the new invention, Someone hinted the news to some lady named Heloise, and everyone who could read a newspaper used my discovery. A patent on the idea would have made my family stinking rich for generations to come. But that was the 60’s, and household hacks, and youtube wasn’t around yet.


What did you hide from your parents as a child?

My parents knew I was a responsible kid for my age, so they let me make my own cannon fuse and gun powder instead of just buying it for me. Some parents now days will just buy their kids all the bomb-making supplies they want. They weren’t teaching their young aspiring rocket scientists anything about resourcefulness. A kid with the eagerness to learn a new trade that had all the diesel and fertilizer at his disposal was sure to go places. Prison, hospital, reform school, and the cemetery are a few of these places.

I never did make bombs. Bombs were illegal. I just made very powerful firecrackers. Very powerful! I would put a firecracker under a tin can, and record high it would go. I would put a double firecracker under a five gal. bucket, and would record how high it would go. My parents taught me to record this important information just in case I stumbled across an experiment that I didn’t want to repeat. If my parents lost a child because of something going wrong out in the barn, they would at least have something to laugh about in later years. They would also have an alibi that would satisfy child protective services.


What is one of the craziest things that’s ever happened to you?

What was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me? For my father’s day last year, my weird daughter gave me a strange gift. It was this thing called Storyworth. Every week, I’d get an email asking me a strange personal question. They wanted me to type my answer out on this damn computer. I don’t type and I don’t compute. Then I would have to hit a send button, and wait for a reply. A reply never came. Finally, up pops “Thank you5b0c0edde0250004e12f71-6c3a6.”  I think their spell check got stuck or something. Speaking of spell check- Both of my daughters said they would show me how to use spell check. I’ve written 52 stories and now that it’s over, they still haven’t showed me how to use it. I’m 66 years old. I could spell good when I was 12. but I’ve forgotten even the easy words now. Whoever said.” Look it up in the dictionary!” must not have the same learning disablities that I suffer from.. I need a book that lists all the uncommon ways to misspell a word that I stabb at. At my age, I couldn’t lift a book that heavy, but maybe if I push it off the table, it will make a loud enough “BANG” to get my wife’s attention so she’ll come in here and spell “DISABLITIES” or “STABB” for me.

The craziest part of this ever-beckoning task was- I enjoyed it. It brought back memories that I forgot to remember. I remember things that I forgot or tried to forget. I can’t remember how much I forgot but if you don’t care, I don’t either.


My dad’s StoryWorth subscription is over and now I have this lovely book:

(My parents on their 40th wedding anniversary.)

A few months ago I started a new subscription for my mom.  I cannot recommend it enough if you’re looking for a great present to give someone you love.  You can even buy one for yourself if you want prompts to help you write about your own life.

Click here to check it out.

135 thoughts on “Probably the best present I ever bought…and got.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I ordered subscriptions for myself and my husband last year after you mentioned it in your blog. THANK YOU!!!!!

  2. I did this for my mom after reading about it here last Christmas. It has been AMAZING. Some of her stories have been funny, some poignant, some just silly, but they’ve all been wonderful. It ranks in her top 5 Christmas gifts ever. I can’t thank you enough for sharing it with us!

  3. Oh, Jenny. Now I see where your sense of humor comes from. This was wonderful to read. Thanks so much for introducing us to Storyworth. Geoff’s father is finishing his right now. We have to sort out who will do it next.

  4. I don’t have words for how much I love this. I love the retelling of the Jenkins episode from his perspective and started tearing up and barely avoided the ugly cry while reading his response to the “best day” question. Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s going on my gift list for my parents right. Now.

  5. This is truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Thank you and your Dad. I now know what to get my Dad and everyone I know. Also, my four year-old daughter thinks my Dad is Santa, but now she’s confused, ha!

  6. Now we know where your crazy story-telling ability comes from…
    I’d love to read more of Dad’s stories.
    Great share!

  7. (Ah, fuck me. Re-commenting because my browser was borked, and my prior comment shows as being submitted by Anonymous.)

    I love that the buffalo nut story literally backfired on him. That says everything about parenting that anybody needs to know.

  8. “My parents knew I was a responsible kid for my age, so they let me make my own cannon fuse and gun powder instead of just buying it for me. Some parents now days will just buy their kids all the bomb-making supplies they want.”

    Your dad is absolutely freaking hilarious. I enjoyed reading this so much! I had no idea about StoryWorth. It’s such a cool idea!

  9. What an amazing gift for all of you. It’s also easy to see where your humor comes from. My sister and I did something similar for our dad but it’s “taped up tight” and we can’t open until he passes. I’m sure there will be many tears and lots of laughter when we do get to read it. I hope that’s not for many many years.
    I also want to tell you how much you mean to me. We will never meet and I’m not on any social media but you have saved me more than a few times and I thank you for that.

  10. I bought this last year for my parents and neither of them kept up with it. I had such dreams of them writing great stories, but, alas.

  11. I read the story about one of the best days with tears in my eyes. The exact same thing happened to my brother. He had kidney cancer when he was five-years-old and had to have a kidney removed. During the surgery, he also received bad blood, and he too got Hepatitis C. He passed away from all of the complications at 30-years old in 2012. Reading your dad saying this was the best day because she was no longer in pain helps me look at my own brother’s death in a different light. I hope his mom and my brother and now hanging out on a cloud somewhere living pain-free and happy. 🙂

  12. I ordered one for my mom and one for my mother in law for Mother’s Day this year. I love it.

  13. “kid with the eagerness to learn a new trade that had all the diesel and fertilizer at his disposal was sure to go places. Prison, hospital, reform school, and the cemetery are a few of these places.”

    Aand right there is a bit of your ‘voice’ that happened to come out of your dad.

  14. This was so wonderful! I laughed out loud, I cried, I’m going to order one for my mom because there are so many things I want to know and never feel comfortable asking in person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  15. This is possibly the best thing I’ve heard of! Who doesn’t want to have memoirs of their parents or even themselves? This punched me right in the feels……
    Thanks for sharing Jenny! 🙂

  16. I want to read your Dad’s book! Can you persuade him to publish it? He has real story – telling talent.

  17. This was beautiful. It’s obvious where you get your writing flare from. Those damn onions attacking my eyes!

  18. I wish I could believe my dad would write out his stories like this. What a wonderful memory to have and be able to pass on. But my dad refuses to use capitalization or punctuation and would likely produce 52 pages of single-word answers. Your dad has clearly passed on his storytelling talents to you, for which we are all grateful. <3

  19. I wish this had been around when my mom was still alive.

    That’s an awesome book, Jenny, and I am glad you have it.

  20. Great, fun memories to share. I wish I had know of this while my parents were alive. There’s a lot I don’t know about either of them and there’s no on left to ask.

  21. So when are your dad’s and mom’s books going to be published? 😉 I’m sure they have plenty of tales to tell! (My dad was a wonderful weirdo too — and today would have been his 87th birthday, so today’s post is especially apropos. How I wish this product had been around before my folks died.)

    Also, does Victor have his own subscription? I think he deserves a chance for rebuttal. 😉

  22. I haven’t read all of these but the ones I’ve read made me cry. What a beautiful man and a wonderful life. May he continue to have many more stories to share.

  23. My husband is doing this now for his grown children. It’s wonderful. Wish I’d had something like this when my parents were around. Love your dad’s answers. What a great gift!

  24. You asked the other day if it is all worth it. This. This alone is worth it all. And I know for a fact there are so many other single moments that each are worth it all.
    There are moments that suck. And there are so many worth it moments!

  25. Oh my goodness gracious. Thank you for sharing this. I literally laughed aloud and cried. What an awesome idea.

  26. Thank you Jenny! I read your posts all the time but have never made a comment. You are amazing by the way! But today I so enjoyed your Dad’s stories that I am compelled to say – thank you for sharing! Just like your stories, your Dad’s stories brought a smile to my face. You are both beautiful rays of sunshine!

  27. I love this. I can see that the pineapple didn’t fall far from the tree. I just went and ordered this for my mom. I’m not confident that she’ll do it, but it is worth a shot!

  28. Oh Jenny, that was a total treat. Loved every story. Thank you for giving this to us!!

  29. I did this with my mom. I just ordered the book, and can’t wait to read everything she wrote.

  30. I was lucky that my father wrote an autobiography for my brother and I way back. This is a nice way to prompt old memories and great stories from the past. I like it!

  31. I absolutely want to get this for my mom, I guess for me really, but I asked her if I got if it if she would use it and she said she just wouldn’t have the time. She said that I could do it and have it sent to myself and she would answer the questions eventually but that she guessed that wasn’t really what it was about. Someday I hope that my mother will slow down enough to have the time since I know how precious this would be.

  32. Now I really miss my dad. He used to tell wonderful stories about when he was younger. He wasn’t a writer, although he was always reading books. He was a Story Teller. I will still have the memories, but you will have the words …

  33. Thanks for reminding me about this service, Jen! Going to order as Christmas presents for my parents!

  34. Your dad’s stories are so great! I can see where you get your sense of humor and writing talent. While I was reading them I was laughing and then started crying because I miss my dad (he died when I was 19) and wish I could read his stories. My mom has been writing stories for years and every time we get together I record her talking about her life, my dad and their life together – anything I can think of to ask her, but I still think the StoryWorth subscription might be good to give her more topics to write about. It’s amazing how you can live with your parents for so many years and still not know about parts of their lives, but when you get them talking (or writing), so many interesting things come out.

  35. A few years ago I attended 5 funerals in as many weeks. They ranged from teenager to senior. I left those funerals with a piece of paper that contained their birthdate, death date, a photo and a prayer. I knew there were many stories that would never be told. Because of this, I have started my life story so my kids will know me. Regardless of how unexciting I think it is, it is my story. And your dad is correct… so many memories start flowing once you start writing.

  36. You know that game where you say who you would want at a dinner party? I want your family. I think I would be in tears laughing and crying at the same time. Your family has a gift for storytelling. It’s amazing.

  37. This is the most precious things I’ve read in a long time. Your father is a wonderful character – and you seem to share his sense of humor. Thank you for sharing this personal offering with us! Loved it!

  38. I got Storyworth for my dad for Christmas last year. The year subscription is just ending but he passed last Thursday. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was to have his insights in his own words. I don’t have the book yet but I did make some print outs for friends and family to read. We learned how to make the perfect Manhattan and all about his cars. One question from last summer was: “How do you want to be remembered?” His answer was: “I would like to be thought of as a good Father, Husband, Son and Grandfather. Hopefully known by many as a good friend.”
    Looking around, I’d say he succeeded.

  39. I am laughing so hard about the Santa story. That is the best. I will be dressed as Santa tomorrow, but I do not look nowhere near as good as your dad does as Santa. He looks impressive and I believe.

  40. I looooooove your dad’s writing and omg the humor runs in the family!! What a treasure this is. What treasures you all are.

  41. Your dad is amazing. I’m dying of laughter and then crying and then thinking, “so that’s where Jenny gets it from.”

    After I read your post last year, I bought this for my dad. He LOVED it so much, he raved about it in his annual Christmas letter this year. I’m so glad I was able to have him do this.

  42. Bought! I couldn’t get a subscription fast enough. Your dad is wonderful. I hope mine is too.

  43. Chiming in to ask your Dad to publish his book! And I’d like the deluxe box set with Victor’s volume.
    I don’t know my parents, but I’d of cherished one written by my adventurous Grandfather. I seem to have been the only one he told of going to a nude beach in Hawaii and getting sunburned. Yes, there. My aunt said she’d never heard it. But it happened.

  44. Your dad is so cool! His turkey story was as fun as yours, though the details differed a bit.
    This is a wonderful way to share stories. Wish I’d tried it 10 years ago before my parents died. I did ask my dad, when he was about 80, about his parents. It was instructive to hear all his stories about his uncle and none of his father.

  45. As I read your father’s stories aloud to my husband, we laughed, cried, then laughed again. At one point my husband jotted something down on a notepad … one of the stories reminded him of another story he wants to write; both our subscriptions end in two weeks. So … thanks, Henry! Another chapter in my husband’s StoryWorth book was inspired by your memory of sitting in your father’s lap.

  46. Jenny, thank you for sharing Storyworth. My daughter, Kiernan, bought a subscription for me two Christmases ago. I wrote to you about her in November of 2017, right after she died. She never got to see my finished book; in fact, I haven’t seen it either. I don’t know what happened. But, your dad’s entries really put mine to shame. I had so much trouble thinking of answers to the questions. I think it is such a worthwhile project for parents to undertake and pass memories down to their children. Thanks again and Merry Christmas.

  47. Oh my goodness. I can see where you get your sense of humor. Your dad is hysterical! And he tells it like it is:). No better combo . . .

  48. This is a dictionary that does exactly what your dad’s talking about. You look up a word the way you think it’s spelled and if it’s red, that’s the right way to spell it. If it’s black, the correct spelling is next to it in red (yeah, I know the colors are totally backwards). I use it with some of my students and they love it.

    How To Spell It: A Handbook Of Commonly Misspelled Words

  49. Jenny, this is wonderful. Your dad is so cool–and the same age as my mom. Kids back then definitely made bombs, or something close. While I’d love to do this for my folks, I can’t imagine them sitting down to type it all out. Kudos to your dad for being such a good sport, and an interesting guy. It takes someone very special to bring home 18 baby turkeys.

  50. Thank you for sharing this. I think it is a great idea ! I would love it if my dad would do this, but he is so busy. I had tried to do something like this before and he never finished it. Maybe I will try again.
    Thank you for all that you do. You make the world a better place.

  51. This is so very cool! My dad did something like this last Christmas but he did it thru one of my brother’s friends. It kinda backfired because my dad wrote about some negative shit in our family. He called my son out for having ADD and for being difficult for me to parent. Totally uncool. It ruined Christmas. My son ran home sobbing uncontrollably. I hid in my parents’ laundry room crying until the little kids were ready to go home. He gave each family member a copy of this book and that embarrassed my son immensely. Glad your dad has a sense of humor!

  52. WOW! Now that is a gift that is going to keep giving for many a generation to come! Thank you for sharing some of the stories!

  53. Thank you for sharing this! What a joy to read!

    P.S. Does your Dad also have to write while covered with critters?

  54. I have lots of tape recordings of my father telling stories of growing up one of 16 children on a farm in the 20’s and 30’s. He’s been gone eight years this past Tuesday. But my mother has never been much of a storyteller and now Alzheimer’s is taking her from us. However, on Wednesday she told me a short story of their wedding day. They got married in her family living room which was large but not that large and they didn’t send out invitations but lots of people showed up. Way more than could fit in the room. There were people everywhere. She explained it by saying, ” suddenly everyone remembered they were related to us.” I nearly had to pull over on the side of the road I was laughing so hard. She’s a very funny woman with a sly sense of humor and that part of her is still with us. I’m glad you shared your dad’s stories with us. Thank you. Merry Christmas

  55. I love this! I just ordered a subscription for my mom and one for my dad. They are both in their 70s and this is an excellent way to keep their life stories.

  56. I see where you get your wry sense of humor. You and your dad make me laugh out loud! Thank you. I needed that.

  57. Now I know why you’re such a wonderful storyteller, Jenny. It’s genetic. His personality shines in his words just as yours shines in your writing, and I could “listen” to both of you forever. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories from your dad with us.

  58. Thank you so much for sharing this! My father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer this week and my husband is really struggling. Based on this post I order this for my in-law’s and I think it will bring a lot of joy to them and my husband. You are like Santa, but better!

  59. It’s lovely. I bought one for both my parents after reading your post about it last year. Sadly my parents seem to have viewed it as a chore rather than as an exciting project, so I don’t know if it will ever get done! My advice would be to check with your parents first rather than getting it for them as a surprise as not all parents are motivated to keep up with it!

  60. Jesus. Your Dad is my Mom. I would get this in a second if I thought she would do it. I would have to call her and write out the answers…. no computer at her house and she uses a flip phone.

  61. Dear Jenny, Please thank your daddy for me. My mom died four weeks ago this morning. She had pain all her life but never complained. About 3 months ago, she began a quick decline. Her mind was gone. She was blind from macular degeneration for the past 25 years. Four days before she died I sat with her and stroked her hair while she screamed in pain, her poor blind eyes rolled back in her head, tongue swollen and lips raw. After a few hours the stronger drugs kicked in and she was calm. My dad called me at 4 in the morning to say she died. And all I could feel was joy. She can see now! She’s not in pain! I felt much like your dad said he felt. It’s been a few weeks now and the joy has worn off. I’m just so damn sad. But your Daddy reminded me that I have the best of her in my screwed up mind and fragile heart, so I will try to remember that. The next time you see him, hug him tighter tha ever because that hug will be from me too. X Diane

  62. The answer to this: “How has your life turned out differently than you imagined it would?” was beautiful and made me tear up. I wish either my mom or grandma had internet or knew even vaguely how to use a computer…

  63. Oh my gosh… I want your dad to be my dad! What a wonderfully witty, loving, true character he is! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!

  64. This is going to sound a little woowoo, but last year, I was reading your post about Storyworth and thinking,”I should get that for my dad,” when the phone rang and I learned that he had been found dead in his apartment. I am not exaggerating – your post was open on my browser when I took that call. It was one year ago the day before yesterday (Dec.12, 2017). So I’m sitting hear reading Jenny’s stories, and wishing I had my dad’s. I’m telling you all this (not Jenny, the rest of you) because I want to yell, DO NOT WAIT. If you think this is something your family would benefit from then DO IT. My dad laid down in his recliner one night and never woke up. It was a quiet, peaceful, beautiful end to a life – but it was completely unexpected (if you conveniently forget that we’re all in the process of dying, right this very minute).

  65. THANK YOU for sharing about this. Its magical! I was trying to figure out what to gift my mom and in-laws and this is perfect. And such a wonderful way to collect stories for their grandchildren.

  66. Thank you for blogging about this again this year! When you mentioned it last year, I thought it would be perfect for my dad, and then forgot. Great timing.

  67. Jenny, I think you need to get your dad another subscription. I’m certain he has way more stories than this. I really enjoyed reading his answers. Considering the shit volcano this week has been, I needed this beautiful post. Thank you!

  68. You and your dad need to collaborate on a book (sorry … not meant to stress you). His answers were sweet, insightful and humorous and you did a very good thing with the Storyworth subscription. That man needed to get those words down on a page.

  69. This was amazing. It made me cry, it made me smile, it made me want to hug your dad. He seems like such a genuine, wonderful person. His words remind me a bit of my dad: when he talks, he’s a lot of gruff and grump. But when he acts, it is with a loving tenderness that he’d verbally deny repeatedly if you ever point it out to him. What a wonderful gift.

  70. Like others, I bought this for my parents for Christmas last year after you posted about it. They’ve enjoyed it so much, and it’s been great for me and my brothers to read the stories they write. But that’s not the best part.

    My mom is one of those people who’ll hug you before you fully get in the door and leave old-lady lipstick kisses on everyone’s foreheads. But Dad’s more of a stay-in-the-background kind of personality. He is very reserved and has never been particularly affectionate with his wife of 54 years or his five kids. He’s not cold or unloving–but he’s not gushy. And yet…running through his stories is an undeniable thread of how much he adores my mom. He’s such a romantic! And we never knew! So what a great gift for my entire family. His printed book will be a firsthand chronicle of my parents’ love story.

    Thank you for that!

  71. After reading your post I contacted my brothers and were getting both our parents this for Christmas. Coincidentally our mom is named Nelda too! I’m so excited to read all the stories!

  72. Oh my goodness. This is such an amazing gift. And I LOVED reading your dad’s stories. He made me laugh and cry. Just like his daughter. Such a great gift. I’m going to buy one for my dad as soon as I get paid.

  73. Thanks so much for posting some of your Dad’s responses. I wanted to get this last year for my MIL because she is the only family elder left. I didn’t because my wife said “she won’t do it”. This year I’m asking my MIL directly. I hope she says yes!

  74. Loved it all, but what stood out most was when he said:
    Life got in the way. Or maybe Life took the reins and led me where I was supposed to go instead of where I thought I should go.
    Powerful words.

  75. I’ll be honest. I started posting my short essays on WordPress and they suggested I comment on other blogs so people know about me. So that’s why I’m commenting because this is the only blog I’ve checked out in a long while (because I stumbled upon the wonderful books). I know there’s hundreds of funny blogs out there, I just don’t have time to read them all. Sorry Jenny, big fan here. I’m sorry to use your comment section to whore out my unknown blog.

  76. Your daddy’s story telling is as delightful as yours! This is lovely!

  77. “Life gets in the way”.
    One of the most beautiful pieces I’ve read in a long time.
    Thank you

  78. Okay, your samples from your Dad’s story made the project real to me in a way that a simple description did not. And now I’ve gone and ordered 3 different people’s stories with multiple books from each one! I hope hope hope that they write their stories.
    Thank you for sharing!

  79. Just bought two, one for my mother in law and one for my own Mom! I hope they will go along with it 😀

  80. Your dad and my dad have the same sense of humor! 😂. I’d love to do this for all my relatives!

  81. I’m ordering a subscription for my mom and told my sister about it as her mother in law was recently diagnosed with alsheimer’s. I also told my significant other as his mother has cancer. In both circumstances there are a ton of interesting stories that will soon disappear with these wonderful women

  82. I would love to do this, but my family don’t tell stories. Reading your father’s stories brought tears to my eyes, I’m sad for myself but so so happy for you and your beautiful family <3

  83. Lost my dad to suicide a few weeks ago. I wish I had seen this months ago so I could have gotten a subscription. He was such a great storyteller. What a beautiful idea.

  84. I’d like to thank you for posting this wonderful article. I am now into my nineth question and feel like I’ve gotten my writing mojo back (after having two novels published but struggling with a third). My daughters will be the (hopefully) happy recipients next Christmas of my ramblings. Maybe even learn a few new things about me. StoryWorth is worth so much more than writing memories–it reminds me of so many fun, interesting, weird, and inspiring moments I’ve had in my life. You are a gem, Jenny Lawson.

  85. I’m waaaaaaay behind on this blog for myriad reasons so now I’m posting on old posts like a FB stalker but, whatever. I just read this and it made me cry, I honestly had no idea how beautiful this could be as a gift. Toats ordering.

  86. I had to stop reading halfway through because these stories had me in tears!

    I wish I had known about Storyworth years ago. I would have loved to have gotten my Pop to answer some prompts like this. He always had stories and, now that he’s gone, I don’t remember a lot of them.

    I wish I could have gotten my mom to do it too. Your dad’s story about when his mother passed away gets me right in the feels. I lots her a little over a year ago and just she was talking to him through ET, I feel like my mom was talking to me through him today. I miss her dearly and wish I had something like this to look back on and treasure.

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