Gregory: One time we were living in [coastal city in Kenya] close to an instructor called Mrs. Marshall. My mother and I visited her. She took me to the beach and said, “I want you to describe.” I asked, “Describe what?” She said, “Look around you and tell me what you see.” “Oh, I can see waves, and a few shells and the sand.” She said, “No, tell me more.”

Eventually I was able to describe quite a lot. After that, I was told, “Go ahead and put it down, then come back, and let’s see what you’ve written.” After 30 or so minutes, I went to them. Mrs Marshall said, “I don’t care about your spelling or your handwriting. Just read it out to us.” Then she said, “You describe very well,” so I felt good.

In times of hard temperament, Mrs. Marshall was very forgiving. Teachers would not read things that I had written at that point. They would say, “Look, your handwriting is all wrong, your spelling is all bad.” She allowed me to move along in my thinking and on paper without all the rules and stumbling blocks of you must “cross your t’s, you must dot your i’s.”

“Tell me more” – it’s my favorite phase. Let’s say I’m teaching characters or a context in a text. My students will describe and not be very clear. I’ll say, “Fine, tell me even more.” I want my students to look around, notice things, and bring them into clarity. (College English Professor in Kenya, M2M, pp.202-205)

Gwendolyn: An art teacher in college ignited and opened up a whole, other world: an aesthetic awareness and a research-oriented, reading-and-writing approach to art. That writing was for a particular audience, but the process was often just as much for me. By going inward, at some point the unfolding happens. It has to be personal to be meaningful.

I’m honoring that as I create this art program; this is the first year. I had to research and bring together circles of thought to do with education, art, children’s creativity, and curriculum – all into a package. I feel so happy I have that document, but it’s not done. It’s going to involve what the children do and how the children progress each year. I’ve been so lucky to wed my love of art and love of writing. Life and work are now joined.   (Suburban School District Art Director, M2M, pp. 185-187)

What Is Memories To Momentum?

Childhood memories, good and bad, affect us greatly as adults – especially if they involve current interests and values. So say 59 people residing in North America who share their life stories as proof. You’ll meet recent arrivals to long-time descendants, the homeless to millionaires, 20-somethings to great grandparents, and loners to networkers. Their journeys are rarely easy, and we find bits of ourselves in their struggles. Each must meet challenges, enjoy good times, learn new skills, and survive disappointments. Childhood memories spur them on, providing momentum for adult quests. Their sweet discoveries along the way are for you to enjoy, as well.

Just for Fun : Share a Memory of a Teacher Who Has Had an Impact on You as an Adult

Email: [email protected] In Honor of “Back to School” Season. Responses will be posted as received. Meanwhile, here are several to get us started.

Niki: Mrs. Boyer, my 9th Grade Latin Teacher. She had never taught school and had no teaching credentials. She had absolutely no desire to teach, either. But somehow our school superintendent discovered she had been a Latin major in college and one way or other got her to sign on the dotted line: she would teach one class of Beginning Latin for a year. No more gardening, no more family focus. Well, she did share news about son Hugh’s college experiences with us. Also, an occasional homemade treat.

And surprisingly she did teach us Latin, although I can’t remember any of us eager to learn it. Apologizing for her lack of teaching skills, nervous re explaining arcane rules for conjugating verbs (what?!), she didn’t give up. Everyday there she was, trying to make sense of Latin so we could, too. She was so sweet and so sincere, we had to help her out, even if that meant learning something that resembled a puzzle more than a language. Once school ended in June, I never saw her again, yet here she is, making me smile. And thanks to her I can laugh at least a little when I’m stuck in a must-do/can’t-do situation. May she rest in peace. (M2M author)

Niki Glanz

Angie: When I was in fifth grade, we lived in northern Alabama. This would have been the sixties when the courts required Alabama to integrate [and] the governor of Alabama was pushing back. A young, black female came to our elementary school.

I was picked to be her buddy: to show her around and to help her, as she transitioned into the school. I remember being so flattered and honored. Somebody must have thought – I assumed it was the teacher – I could treat this person in a way that was fair and caring and that maybe I had enough leadership ability to bring this girl into the fold. It wasn’t just that I was making good grades. This teacher did a wonderful thing because this experience started building some positives in me.

There’s no doubt it had a powerful impact on my life: how comfortable I am relating to people that are different from me. [In] every choice I’ve made as an executive responsible for managing people, I’ve wanted to take the time to understand who they were. That’s what I have loved most about people valuing me as a boss. (Retired CEO of a think tank, M2M, pp. 161-4.)


Madeleine Li

Memories to Momentum is a heartwarming read of great insight – any reader will find parts of their own stories within the many individual journeys that Glanz so thoughtfully weaves throughout the book.

Madeleine LiProgram Officer, Global Non-Profit
Stanley Gardner

I like the concept of stories of our childhood memories influencing who we are. Through our imagination and understanding we gain growth, which brings us to who we are today. A must read!

Stanley GardnerBusinessman
Henry Stadler

Memories to Momentum provides insight into the power of memory and its effect on happiness. Myriad stories provide insight into the manner in which childhood memories can create an enduring mark for the rest of our lives. Through Niki’s accounts, readers learn how to achieve happiness in their own lives.

Henry StadlerUndergraduate Neuroscience Student at Skidmore College
Dolores DeGiacomo

I met Niki several years ago while she was working on this research. I’m so glad to see her final product. For practitioners, it’s incredibly important to work with our clients in the present with a better understanding of their past. This book will help professionals bridge the gap between goals and motivation in a way that helps clients succeed.

Dolores DeGiacomoCoach and Business
Judith Brown

This book made me ponder how people in our lives affect, so much, our end result.  Anyone would enjoy reading this book!

Judith BrownRetired Insurance Underwriter
Red Cross Disaster Volunteer & Rotarian
Jake Jacobs

This book gave me hope and reassurance that am not alone in the difficulties of life. Yes, I have seen where the struggles I go through have benefitted me. This book is a must read.

Jake JacobsEngineer
Ron and Dell Hadley

Memories to Momentum is elegant and thoughtful.  The diverse examples provided by the author through her numerous interviews provoke the reader’s own odyssey through their memories.  This medium also facilitates neat prose which allows the book to be enjoyable for all age groups.

Ron and Dell HadleyRetired Telecom Executive and Community Volunteer Mother of 5 daughters, now a grand- and great-grandmother
Marie L. Procter

Niki gathered a range of stories for Memories to Momentum that elegantly highlight the important experiences that shape our lives as we grow up. Readers will find themselves reviewing their own memories and being inspired to write their own stories, leading them to make meaning of life’s events. Memories to Momentum is a must read. It not only inspires but sheds light on how we are influenced by family values, cultural norms, environmental conditions, and economic security.

Marie L. ProcterReal Estate Manager and Book Club Devotee
Board Member of Community Organizations

“Great book!” Peg C, PA

“Received my copy yesterday and have read many pages already, starting with ‘Grandparents’ since I remember so well my dear Grandfather. Thank you for your accomplishment in publishing these important stories. Wonderful book!” Ron C, CA

“I very much enjoyed reading your book. The conclusion makes the reader appreciate the value of childhood memories.” Irma M, British Columbia

“Reading really well!” Patti M, United Kingdom

“Your book is both interesting and informing. Congratulations” Elfriede M, Georgia

[Re Homa’s Afghanistan story] “I realized how traumatic and damaging it is to millions of children that are impacted by conflict where they grow up.” Yuan K. L., Singapore

“I enjoyed your stories about mothers. Thank you!” Carol V, CA

“So positive to hear all those stories and how they grew from memories. Thank you so much for sharing this and creating this!!” Diane L, VT

“Congratulations – what a neat project.” Cindy, P, SC; Professor of Psychology, Clemson University

“Good work!” Rebecca M, Chair, NH Racial Healing Group

Memories to Momentum: Stories of Looking Back, Living Forward

Book Description

59 life stories from a wide variety of people as told by them!

Hear how they overcome adversity and enjoy good times, gaining a sense of pleasure and purpose in the process.

Who Will Benefit:

  • Family and Community Members
  • Public-Facing Employees (ed, medical, HR, gov’t, etc)
  • Entrepreneurs, College Students, and High School Seniors/Juniors
  • Seniors and their Families
  • Book Clubs

What You’ll Gain:

Both negative and positive memories contribute to lives with meaning and mirth. Discover strategies for meeting challenges and enjoying various forms of happiness. Benefits may include:

  • Increased self-knowledge
  • Both short-term and long-term happiness
  • Greater sense of strength and self-confidence
  • Personal growth
  • Increased resilience

Who Am I? Why Did I Write M2M?

I’m Passionate about Learning, Life, and Community!

dsc03833v1Learning. I graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh, then had the great fortune of teaching social studies courses, including several I created, at two top-tier high schools. One, in Evanston (IL), included students from more than fifty countries plus a diverse, local community; the other, located in LaPaz, Bolivia, attracted native Bolivians, Asian immigrants, and a smattering of North Americans. Sandwiched between these two positions, I taught ESL to adult Laotian refugees.

These experiences whetted my appetite for a doctorate that would incorporate cross-cultural education issues and strategies. I found exactly that at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. I also was able to study with renowned qualitative researcher Gretchen B. Rossman. Although I had majored in statistical research for my MEd, I delighted in the novel, unexpected findings that qualitative methods, such as interviews and observations, offered.

I then became an education professor at Augusta (GA) College (now University). There I had the thrilling opportunity of teaching grad and undergrad courses to students who would play a part in Augusta’s transformation from a leader of the Old South to regional, New South leadership. I also conducted staff development, special programs, and research with local, public school teachers and administrators.

Life. Meanwhile at each locale, my children and I were making significant life discoveries. As our physical settings changed, so did our pastimes. Celebrations ran the gamut from small-town strawberry festivals to Bolivia’s sensational Carnival to sledding down Amherst’s Memorial Hill to golf’s prestigious Masters tournament. Food, music, and speech varied, too, while warm-hearted people proved a key constant.

Following nearly 20 years in education, I launched a career in finance, managing a stock/bond portfolio for ten years. Fortunately, it handily beat S&P 500 metrics. Engaging with the business world was enjoyable, too – yet another slice of life!

Community. You could summarize all the above as a celebration of our greater community’s diversity, while seeking strands that unite. My family and I gained a lively amalgam of contrasting approaches to life that has enriched us in ways small and large.

I think you, too, will enjoy meeting a variety of people. Psychology, my major content area professionally and personally, provides us with a way to do that via “life stories.*” Enjoy M2M’s 59 takes on life: they come to you with both groans and grins from people who care enough to reach out and get personal. Voilà!

*See nearby link for more info re “Life Stories.”

More Info re Book: Memories to Momentum

By Niki Glanz

M2M highlights fifty-nine edited interviews that describe the intricate weaving of participants’ sad/happy, tragic/ecstatic memories. The book features millionaires to the homeless and includes participants of all ages, races, major religions, and an enormous range of locales. They portray horrors, such as war, abuse, and disability, along with uplifting scenarios of happiness, tenderness, and success. Feel free to befriend participants. Many share powerful, though subtle approaches for overcoming adversity and enjoying good times.

I have seen these ideas strike a responsive chord with the public. In the last several years, attendees at four international conferences have heard various findings from interviewees’ stories. For example, at the July, 2016, International Network of Personal Meaning conference in Toronto, I presented three, general ways participants turned challenges into triumph. Members of the audience warmly thanked me afterwards. Hopefully you, too, will find nuggets of wisdom and inspiration, as well as enjoyment, in M2M’s stories and Conclusion.

As a finale, M2M encourages readers like you to craft your own life story. The coping skills and optimism inherent in your story may help chart a way forward as you navigate that often tempestuous, yet gleaming river of life. An Introduction, Conclusion, Appendix and References supplement the 59 stories to complete the book.


Memories to Momentum: Stories of Looking Back, Living Forward

Do happy childhood memories matter? Seeing a slender boy perform killer cannonballs on a gorgeous summer day during a cross-country move impelled me to find out. Beyond his mighty splashes, the boy was a titan of joy. As he drew onlookers into his celebration of life, his exultation activated my research instincts: would later life reflect this exuberance?

Seventy in-depth interviews later, after touring North America five times for a diverse sample, I found the answer. Yes, upbeat episodes and retrospection of them promote a long-term imprint. The reality of joy appears complex, however. Although unasked, all interviewees also cited negative memories – at times devastating and tragic. Surprisingly, both negative and positive memories sparked life-affirming commitments. [If you’re wondering how negative memories could lead to anything good, here’s my response: Kindly buy the book!]

eBook and Paperback of Memories to Momentum NOW AVAILABLE from



Price: $14.99

To contact Niki Glanz: [email protected]