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Your memories matter (not just to you)

Talk of war and refugees has brought back memories for Helena of fleeing her home decades ago.

There had been rumours that soldiers were coming closer.

Suddenly on a Saturday morning, the order was given to evacuate. Her mother and siblings had 10 minutes to pack whatever they could carry.

Helena was 14 years old.

After months on the road — frightened, hungry and dirty, pushed in one direction and then the other — they arrived in the village that was to become their new home.

Where the city girl now had to work in the fields.

At the time, Helena recorded her family’s arduous journey in her first language, Polish, to help her cope with what was happening.

Now years later, Helena’s decided she also needs a record in English.

When she’s gone, she wants the next generations who don’t read Polish to know what their family went through.

So together we’re working on an English version.

Helena translates a section and emails it to me and I:

  • improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • suggest more natural words and phrases
  • check the sentences flow and the meaning is clear

Then we collaborate on the next part. And so on.

Helena’s writing about the cold, the fear, the hunger, the pain that she felt. What she saw and heard on the road. How she missed school and her friends.

Even though Helena’s childhood ended abruptly, somehow her family managed to survive.

And finally, Helena’s telling her story in English to make sure it’ll be remembered in the future.

I can help you too get your memories — of migration, travel, building a business or a career — down on paper in English.

Email me

© Christina Wielgolawski