As many of you know, there is a seniors’ newspaper published out of Saskatchewan called The Senior Paper. It is excellent.

It was first brought to my attention around 2018 as I was exploring launching Respect. At first, it took some of the wind out of my sails—here I was trying to set up a local paper to serve older adults, and now I see this national paper that does it so well. 

Of course I’m one who believes people should read every newspaper they can, so I was confident we could find our readership with a focus on local news and information. So far, so good—thank you for reading!

But what I love most about The Senior Paper is its pages and pages of reader-submitted stories. It’s a terrific way for people to communicate with each other.

So when we launched Respect, I decided I want that too. We had pages dedicated to Your Stories, and many of you were good enough to submit stories, poems, recipes, and photos. It was a genuine pleasure to read them and share them in the paper, and I think they made the paper better.

Somehow we’ve lost that, and I’d love nothing more than to bring it back.

We’ve had some excellent writers and storytellers grace our pages. Dail Russell of Bonnyville wrote to us frequently, and her brother Frank in Newfoundland sent us some of his poems that had been published years ago. Marian Nash in Cold Lake and Jean Schoenmaker in Ontario offered wonderful stories, snippets, and poems. Astrid Holseth of Bonnyville is an accomplished poet who shared some of her work with us; and Kaye Lewis sent in some terrific homestyle recipes.

And there were many others who would offer one particular story, but didn’t contribute regularly.

I remember telling Jean that I was worried her well-crafted narratives were scaring off other potential contributors. I would often hear from people that they might submit something, but they don’t really consider themselves much of a writer.

I’m renewing our invitation to everyone who has a story to tell (in short, everyone) to please write it up and send it in. Our history isn’t just about governments and dates and big events, after all. It’s about ourselves, our parents and grandparents, how they came to be here, and how they lived their lives every day.

Everybody remembers their own Big Snow Storm; everybody has a funny wedding story. All of us have friends or relatives who went off to war, or perhaps some of you have wartime stories of your own.

Do you have an old photo showing our area as it was decades ago? A picture of family from your parents’ or grandparents’ generation? What is the story behind it?

What do you remember about your pets or farm animals; when did you learn to drive a tractor, truck, or car? What was your career, what stories do you remember from work?

You don’t have to be an accomplished author to put your story on paper. A good story, simply told, is always the best. And if you have difficulty with handwriting or typing, find someone who will listen to your story and record it on their cell phone. We can transcribe it for you.

Let’s keep “Your Stories” alive!