Everyone has a past. Michael and Rose Eury’s past began holding hands the day he walked into Monkey Business Singing Telegram in Charlotte and asked her for a job.
That was 1984, and, like they say, the rest is history.
Now, a new business venture from the couple, called Yesterday Forever, aims to help others capture their own histories through guided autobiography classes, memoir-writing sessions and biography and videography services.
The idea was sparked during Michael’s experiences writing a series of regional books highlighting memorable people in Cabarrus County.
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“I think people want to share their stories,” said Michael. “In some cases, in some stages of life, they’re anxious to get them in some kind of recorded form so that their families will maintain a piece of them.”
Anyone who has lived in Cabarrus County for any length of time probably knows Michael. A prolific writer and historian, he grew up in Concord and then ventured off to New York City to work as a writer and editor in the comic-book business. When he returned to his hometown with Rose, he took a position as executive director of the Historic Cabarrus Association and the Concord Museum.
Although he eventually left that position, it ignited a passion for community history that still exists today.
“The stories behind the stories … they became more fascinating to me,” he said.
Rose spent most of her years in the corporate publishing world, proofreading history, algebra and chemistry textbooks for a large academic publisher.
It just made sense that eventually their own experiences would unite to help others put their histories on paper.
Yesterday Forever will offer a few different ways to get the stories down. One of them is through guided autobiography classes – small-group sessions where classmates share portions of their own stories with one another while they write.
“The class is not supposed to be therapy, but it is therapeutic,” said Rose, a certified guided autobiographer.
She’s listened as people with chronic illnesses have told their stories, wept, and then re-emerged with new confidence after listening to their own courageousness. “You gain insight about your life that you may not even thought about,” she said.
The class is recommended for anyone but can be especially beneficial to seniors and even those in hospice. “Life review can be something that’s very important,” said Rose. “Especially to the families they leave behind.”
How much to share is up to each individual, and everyone signs a confidentiality agreement at the beginning of the class, promising not to discuss any part of each others' stories outside of the class.
“Whether or not you choose to make what you write through these classes public is your choice,” said Rose.
Other services include interview sessions for memoir and biography writing, both of which result in a soft or hardcover book of the story told, with the option to order additional copies, plus a book-signing reception.
In a few weeks, the Eurys will release their first biography under the new business. “The Raiford Troutman Story: How the Son of a Sharecropper Built a Million-Dollar Business upon Faith and Family” is the culmination of a yearlong series of interviews with family, friends and businesses associates of Raiford Troutman.
For Troutman, who suffers from dementia, memories began slipping away. His wife, Margene, wanted to make sure his remarkable story of determination wasn’t lost for future generations. She suggests others do the same.
“I would recommend anybody who has a history, I don’t care how big or how little, to put it in a book. That’s the place it needs to be,” said Troutman. “Our children need to know what their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents went through.”
Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on Yesterday Forever, go to www.Yesterday4ever.com.
“Introduction to Guided Autobiography” will be held 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. March 28 at Piedmont Renaissance Center, 57 Union St. S., Concord. Lunch is provided. To register, email email@example.com. Cost: $85.
Book signing for “The Raiford Troutman Story: How the Son of a Sharecropper Built a Million-Dollar Business upon Faith and Family” will be held 11 a.m. April 15 at Troutman’s Restaurant, 362 Church St. N, Concord.