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WHAT IS THIS?

My memoirs, a combination photo album / journal / writing apprenticeship currently covering three volumes, each a period in my life:

“If I only Knew,” covering childhood through age 18;

“Nous les Zinzins!” covering 1994 through 2010, the years that Marie-Helene and I spent together raising our six children; and “

Aging Gracefully,” covering 2010 and on.

The fourth volume, “Gimme Some Truth,” is in progress, and is programmed to cover 1970 through 1983.

One of the Canada pages in that first 1979 photo album. Each of those photos was taken in Alberta in winter: I was freezing my butt off much of the time!

WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?

It was the spring of 1979, and I was preparing to graduate college at the tender age of 26.

Departure from Berkeley was imminent. In the fall I would move back East to law school, and the pending move, along with the expected scattering of college friends, were evoking in me a dance hall of feelings. As was my wont, I watched the dancing from the sidelines, an exercise in wistful nostalgia.

Basking in the memories, I compiled my first photo album out of that dance hall of feelings. Smoking way too much, maybe 60 a day, I fitted in compiling the album between a graduating senior’s unbelievable social life and 40 hours a week driving the campus shuttle bus to BART (amusingly called “Humphrey Go-Bart”).

Antony and Laura Nash in the RV I rented for their (and their parents!) summer holiday in California in 1978.

As I put the pages together, themes compiled themselves: there were family pages, pages on English friends, pages on Cambridge NY and Canada, you name it.

Glimpses of the future were also visible. Several of the themes included Antony and Laura Nash, my nephew and niece, then aged four and two respectively. They had already planted in me a strong desire to have children of my own, and preferably a few!

But the finished album showed little of what was really happening. The same applied to the various ensuing albums. which covered 1979-82 (law school), 1982-86 (New York City), 1986-90 (Paris I) and 1990-3 (Paris II). You could perhaps see a subtext in how photos were grouped, or in one or other of the typically short captions, but as memoirs, even diaries, these photo albums were woefully incomplete.

Not much changed when the internet waltzed in. Beginning in 2000, my first online album took shape, courtesy of Microsoft’s Front Page. I worked on the online album for ten years, off and on, until 2010, and it is still pretty much all there at www.zinzins.net. Again, the text is sparse, although over time I did begin to express more feelings, if hesitantly.

Sue Blanc and I at a hotel pool during one of mum and dad’s summer trips, I think in 1977, to visit us and explore California. The good times!

In 2003, during the course of a year working in Newport Beach and commuting weekly back to Santa Cruz, I started writing a “proper” memoir, separate from the online photo album. The idea behind the choice of a memoir as the subject matter was that it would at least have some use, as communication with the children, even though the writing itself was obviously going to need improvement as I learned how. If I had tried my hand right away at a novel, then the finished product would have ended up being thrown out. Didn’t fancy that!

The year I spent at boarding school, 1966, was probably the most miserable of my entire life; it was certainly the most miserable of my youth. This was back with the family for the summer, in our then new home in Marlow. Tiddles, mum’s old cat, was 17 and I was 13.

I posted that first memoir discretely online in around 2008, and it has been studiously ignored ever since! It covers my first 18 years, and is now here: If I Only Knew. Most of it is pretty dull, I’m afraid, although the Beatles chapter is fun to read, and it gets more interesting during my teenage years.

Nick did read it: thanks kiddo! I’m still hoping that the children will take the time to read it as they get older.

I began the second memoir in 2011, and finished it in 2016. Once more, it was an on again, off again labor of love, this time covering the sixteen years of Marie-Hélène’s and my beautiful blended family, Nous les Zinzins!  The family was no longer an integrated whole, but I worked through the feelings of loss by telling its stories.

I told the stories in different ways over the years spent reworking the site, focusing at first on what had gone wrong, and then on the good times. I want to remind the children that much of our time together had been wonderful.

I should have made more progress since, especially since retiring at the end of 2018. But no, there are the diary posts since 2010 in “Aging Gracefully,” but not a lot more yet. Real life can be so time-consuming!

WAYS TO NAVIGATE THIS SITE:

From Aging Gracefully in 2013. Someone asked Alex on social media who was his idol growing up, and this was his response. I choked up.

There are various ways to navigate each volume, and each volume is different.

My childhood is easy to navigate: click on the title page, and you will see a summary of each of the 25 chapters, any of which you can jump to. They are in chronological order, meaning that it is easy to read this volume as one story. The chapters are also listed in the right margin of this volume.

The second volume, Zinzins, is a combination of pages and posts, and is pretty complicated to navigate. I make a few suggestions here.

The last volume, Aging Gracefully is a normal blog, meaning that it is in reverse chronological order, with the first 2010 post last, and the most recent post first. The title pages (there are two of them) list the posts by title, as does the right margin.

And congratulations!!! You have arrived at one of the least visited sites on the entire Internet! Sites like this are proof that Bob Dylan saw the precursors to the Internet about fifty years ago when he “Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’.”

I’m whispering here: “hello!”

CONTACT:

You can of course comment on any post or page. Or you can get in touch with me reliably at ian@zinzins.net. Please, please flag any errors that you stumble upon!

LEGAL BUMPH!!

This entire site, all pages, posts and photos, is ©  Ian Stock 1990 – 2020, except for a few photos and some song lyrics, whose author is stated when known.

Not complicated. This is my stuff, the photos, the writings, everything except links to the Web. Do not use any of it (other than for non-commercial or educational purposes) without my prior written permission!!. This means YOU!!