This One’s For You by
(89 Stories)

Prompted By Why We Write

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I write because Suzy Underwood put out a plea to my college class listserv for stories about interviews, and I thought I had a good one.  That led me to Retrospect.  It was COVID, I was heading deeper into retirement, taking long walks in the park with the dog, and ruminating on the state of the world and my life so far.

I write because Suzy Underwood put out a plea to my college class listserv for stories about interviews, and I thought I had a good one.

Until then, I had been so busy in the moment that I hadn’t spent much time revisiting early years.  The Retrospect prompts have been challenges to unlock old doors and peek inside.  Sometimes it is surprising what I find—a new perspective or forgotten fragment of a memory with sudden significance.

Writing now is unlike writing earlier in my life.  I didn’t like writing papers for school and was happy that visual studies and science courses were mercifully short on essays.  Little did I know how much time I would later spend with pen or keyboard, scribing medical notes, taking minutes, or producing union newsletters.  And I started keeping a journal when traveling, just so I wouldn’t forget where I was when. And I wrote silly words to songs.  Not what I would consider “writing” writing.

Still, I have held onto papers and mementoes with the thought that times have been so full of change, maybe preserving a little history isn’t such a bad idea.  Then again, who would ever care to visit the Khati Hendry Museum, so why not just spare the executor and throw everything out now?  Each year that seems a bit more relevant, as I have no children, and would nieces and nephews care?  And considering the existential threat of climate change: who will be around for anything?

In any case, I now find that memoire-type writing helps me collect my thoughts and I like understanding my own story better.  Whatever happens with my collected “stuff” when I am gone doesn’t matter. Today, Retrospect has provided an encouraging place to share stories with people who have lived through the same years and may care about some of those experiences.  I like reading what others write, getting to know them through their stories, and trading encouraging comments.  So, Retro-friends, this one’s for you.

Profile photo of Khati Hendry Khati Hendry

Characterizations: right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    We are so glad you answered Suzy’s call, wrote that first piece and are now a regular contributor, Khati. Your life experience is fascinating and your stories lend so much to the collective narrative that is Retrospect.

    I agree, memoire-type writing helps to collect one’s thoughts and gives better understanding to one’s own story. It is a great reason to write.

  2. Suzy says:

    Khati, reading your story made my morning! Thanks for reminding me that it was my post on our class listserv about the Interviews prompt that brought you to Retrospect. Many people wrote on that one prompt, but I’m glad you chose to stay and continue writing. Your life is fascinating, and certainly in the early years quite different from most of ours. As Betsy says, you add a lot to the collective narrative. Thank you for this story “for us”!

  3. Marian says:

    I’m so glad to get to know you through your writing, Khati, and by our meeting in person. I agree that memoirs are a very good vehicle for understanding yourself and your experiences. I’ve enjoyed the commonality and differences I’ve discovered with you and the others at Retrospect.

  4. John Shutkin says:

    What a lovely paean to Suzy and to Retro, Khati. And, as I am sure you’ve seen, many of us on Retro also use it to “collect our thoughts,” to say nothing of the enjoyment we receive from reading the stories of other thoughtful Retro writers.

    And we are absolutely delighted that you are among those writers now, particularly given your exotic (to many of us) life and the beautiful way in which you share it with us. Thank you so much!

  5. Thanx Khati for your lovely, insightful story. Retro has indeed been a wonderful space for us to share our stories and form connections and friendships even before we met face-to-face.

    I join you in saluting Suzy who rescued Retro and holds it all together!

  6. Khati,
    Thank you for a fresh and insightful tour of the Khati Hendry Museum, and it’s potential as a lasting must-see stop on the American/Canadian learning and living curve.

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    Thanks, Khati, for sharing musings, memories, and insights with the Retro community. I feel like I know you through your stories, so you have let me into your museum.

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