Guest Post: Suzanne Sherman

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from author, Susanne Sherman. Please help me by giving her a warm welcome! 

Guest Post:Creating Girlhood in America: Personal Stories 1910 - 2010

I was a writer and editor at 36 when I found a job of my dreams. No, I wasn’t earning a six-figure salary or having adventures in foreign lands. I was teaching memoir—guiding people in writing about their wonderful, complicated lives.

Twenty-one students at least 40 years older than me circled the big table on that first day of class, the oldest among them Gertrude, an 89-year-old who remembered trembling while her grandmother held her close in a bomb shelter as bombs went off across London during World War I. A New Yorker in class met his wife of 70 years when they were in high school. He married her without a ring—“Who had money?”
My students wrote amazing stories about ways of life I’d never known, about climbing on a chair to put a nickel into the gas meter in a tenement apartment to heat the house for another day. I read about city kids in the ‘20s picking sticky tar bits from the edges of newly laid streets and chewing it like gum. One woman wrote about rag sellers with horse-drawn carts on the streets of San Francisco. Another wrote about the Depression, with her family living out of the back of a truck as a squatter by a Tennessee River. During World War II one woman saw her Japanese school friends taken away and moved to fenced compounds in a different state for the duration of the war.
Ten years later my students had different stories to write. One woman hitchhiked to Woodstock at 16. Another wrote that she was raised by the TV after school and had a bedroom at her mom’s and her “weekend dad’s” houses.
I could see the wheel of time was turning. The contrast of the present made me realize even more the importance of the past.
And then I had an aha moment.
I had to collect this amazing whirl of change, had to capture these jewels about our culture on paper for more people to see. I had to unlock the treasure chest.
I decided to create “100 Years in the Life,” a new book series, and to start with women. The series would begin with girlhood stories of life before age 13 in every decade of a century and go on to teenage girls—coming of age stories, which I’m collecting now. (Go to for details.) The third book in the series will feature women’s lives throughout a century, with all the many ways we have lived.
To create Girlhood in America I selected 25 stories from my oldest memoir students for the first four chapters, the 1910s through the 1940s. For the 1950s through the 2000s I interviewed 30 women and girls from around the country, transcribed their words and edited them into the fabulous stories they are.
Each chapter focuses on a decade, opening with a cultural history about the country and what affected young girls, an interesting list of the 10 top girls’ names (from Mildred to Zoe), and fun highlights from pop culture. For each decade there are five or six girls’ stories, from Maine to Molokai’i. It’s history in motion, a rare chance to go time-traveling while seeing yourself, in ways, reflected in every story. The book is available on Amazon (, as an e-book, and by order through Ingram for libraries and bookstores. *******************
Thanks Suzanne for coming by the blog today. 

Check out the information here for more details about her book: 

Author bio:
   Suzanne Sherman, editor, memoir consultant, coach and teacher (, is the creator of the new book series, 100 Years in the Life. These collected short memoirs reveal a century of American life through personal voices from every decade. Girlhood in America: Personal Stories 1910 – 2010 starts the series, available in print and e-book ( 

About the book:
an important testimony to the lived history of decades of young girls. Informative, fun and illuminating!" -- Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers

The period of 1910-2010 ushered in huge changes—in social codes and lifestyles, discoveries and inventions, and of course—entertainment. Family life, education, and daily concerns transformed in this century of challenges and discoveries, devotions and losses, privileges and prejudices. These true stories of more than 50 girls under 13 transcend age and gender. You'll learn about yourself, your children, your mothers, and your grandmothers. It's history in motion, powered by the personal.

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