I did indeed write about my mother’s maternal grandmother, Esther Toby Drewno Entel, last week. She had little footprint in Poland and later in America. There are no photos of her. When I asked cousins what stories they’d been told, they had nothing to share with me. I suspect even the three women named for her don’t know much, if anything. It’s been interesting to put her life into perspective: how she became a grandmother at 44, lost a child born between her two daughters, succumbed to dementia.
I attended a Creative Nonfiction webinar last week by Maggie Messitt that advocated for an artifact-based approach toward memoir. I’m going to make a list of all the objects I’ve inherited from family members and then choose one to write about. For my piece on Esther Toby, that object is her given name.