Life’s adventures: Lyn Brickles shares her stories

November 2015 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, People
Lyn Brickles, and her book "Give Thanks"

Lyn Brickles, and her book “Give Thanks”

By Kristine Thomas

Silverton resident Lyn Brickles didn’t plan on writing stories about her life growing up in England during World War II and living in Africa and now Silverton.

Her brown eyes twinkle as she laughs, insisting she was tricked into joining Pat Love’s writing group more than 20 years ago.

“My friend Kay asked me to coffee and next thing I know I am in Pat’s writing group,” Lyn said. “I began writing because I was lonely.”

She moved from Africa to Silverton in 1990. The move to Oregon, she said, was partially in response a request from her daughter, Joy Peterson, who lives in Scotts Mills. She was concerned about her mother and stepfather living so far away.

The move didn’t go as smoothly as they hoped. Lyn’s husband, Beris, didn’t get the papers he needed to settle in Silverton. For three years, he could be six months in the country and six months out or be considered an illegal immigrant. He lived six-months here, six months out of country until the paperwork was in order. This meant months of living alone for Lyn.

While living in Botswana, Lyn wrote letters to her five children. Some of those letters, her memories, and 20 years of writing yielded her memoir, Give Thanks. It was published this fall by Tate Publishing.

Always Our Children
Born in 1928 in the Chiswick District of London,
Silverton resident Lyn Brickles shares her
adventures growing up during World War II in
England, moving to and living in Botswana and
finally settling in Silverton. Her book
“Give Thanks” is a collection of stories.

It can be ordered on Amazon.com.
During the holidays, she encourages
families to share their own stories,
either through writing or recordings.

“I only told the stories of my life that would make the reader laugh. I chose not to write about the dark parts because there is only so much you can cry,” she said. “I began writing my stories because I realized I have a good memory.”

Pat says Lyn as a member of the writing class for six years. She was delighted when she saw Lyn’s book.

“I was so impressed by her experiences and I helped her see the significance of what has happened during her life,” Pat said.

Although she lived in New York and Lyn in London as young girls, Pat could relate to the stories Lyn told about World War II.

“She is really a beautiful writer,” Pat said.

One role Pat played as an instructor was showing each student that they were unique and all had stories worth telling.

givethanks“I told them no one has been through an experience like you have,” she said. “Each person brings their own thoughts and feelings to an experience.”

Describing Lyn as a “remarkable person,” Pat said Lyn’s stories show her insight on how she dealt with the tough and good times in her life and how she was sensitive and kind to others.

“What has always impressed me is the way you treated everyone with respect and compassion and understanding,” Pat wrote in a card to Lyn.

Recovering from surgery, Lyn apologized for not serving tea and cakes during an interview on recent November afternoon. Although excited to see her stories published, she is humble about the accomplishment.

Her five children, nine grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren live all over the world.

“I don’t know where they get their sense of adventure,” she said with a mischievous grin.

She took delight when they said they didn’t know she had done this or that.

That could be anyone of an array of adventures: escaping to a “cupboard” under the stairwell during bombing raids in London, swimming across the Thames River, living in Africa while Beris helped build a power plan in the Kalahari Desert, or being welcomed as English immigrants to Silverton.

Her book also includes stories of discovering the source of the “screams,” chickens in the attic, and the antics of an array of animals, including two spoiled dogs, cats and goats.

Lyn encourages everyone to write their stories or to share their stories with friends and family members.

“I think when we share our stories we are teaching other people about what happened in the past,” she said. “Everybody has a story to tell.”

Known to some as a perfect hostess and as the “Queen Mum” by her family, her book reveals an adventurous spirit.

“I think I have adventures come to me,” Lyn said.

Her love of reading started early – her father’s library had thousands of books. Even now, at any time she may be in the midst of reading two or three. Lyn shared a story about her father’s library. She recalls reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin when she was seven. When she was 9 or 10, she did a bit of eavesdropping to learn why she was being banned from entering the library without his consent. She heard her parents discussing a book covered with brown wrapping.

“I think I was a sneaky kids. No, I am sure I was and I didn’t miss many tricks,” she wrote.

She discovered the forbidden book Lady Chatterley’s Lover and with the tutoring of a “five to six pound dictionary,” she read the book, looking up anything she didn’t understand.

“So this plain little girl with her pudding basin cut, brown hair got herself educated by reading continuously, repeatedly and obsessively that old book…,” she wrote.

Her natural curiosity continued throughout her life, she said, inspiring her to learn all she could – except to use a computer. All her stories are handwritten in capital letters.

“Computers absolutely hate me. They go broken if I try to use one.”

She’s grateful for her husband’s support for her writing and for enduring the countless stories she tells on their adventures.

“We were driving back from the Oregon Coast and I saw a road sign that read, Tom Jack Road and I started making up a story about it,” she said. “My dear husband has to put up with me and my made up stories.”

They have been friends for 45 years and married for 38 years, she added.

With an envelope filled with quotes and scraps of paper with notes, Lyn plans to keep writing. She attends the monthly writing group at the Silver Falls Library on the first and third Thursdays. She also wants to record her book.

“I think when I read them out loud, I put some character into them,” she said.

Joy said she knew many of the stories her mother shared, but those from childhood held some surprises. “I knew she was a tomboy and a magnificent swimmer,” she said.

She’s proud her mother has published her collection. “My mother is unique in so many ways,” Joy said. “She has a genuine good sense of humor and that shows up in her writing.”

Lyn never learned to drive, so Joy takes her to the Silver Falls Library. “I don’t think there is a book in the Silver Falls Library that my mother hasn’t read twice,” she said.

For Lyn, she hopes her stories make the reader giggle or laugh and shows them some insight into another person’s life. “If I didn’t write my stories, I knew I would regret it,” she said.

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