Heather Conn Blogs

spoutin’ about by the sea

A “living museum” on Mount Elphinstone could be logged »« We can all learn from children

Three memoirs: men in their 80s look back on life and love

In 2010, I ended up editing three memoirs written by three different men in their eighties. They were all intriguing stories:


  • On Love and War by Avivi I. Yavin, to be published in 2011 by MW Book Publishers in Garden Bay, BC. This semi-autobiographical story focuses on the moral and political dilemmas of a young soldier fighting in the elite Israeli underground forces in the late 1940s.


  •  A Labour of Love: Fond memories of family, friends, and medical feats, to be self-published by Sid Effer. This retired pediatrician recounts delightful adventures from his youth in Cuba and Brazil to his global travels in adulthood. Many decades after he helped countless women through challenging and sometimes life-threatening childbirths, he remains friends with former patients and their children around the world.


  • The Magical Playhouse: A conscious exploration of one’s dream reality, self-published by artist Bodhi Drope of Gibsons, BC. This nonfiction limited edition, accompanied by original four-colour digital art, covers the author’s spiritual journey and the powerful role that dreams and dream journalling played in his life. The book offers practical tips on how to use dreams to gain insights into your behaviour patterns and self-defeating beliefs.

I feel honoured that these men have entrusted me to shape the written accounts of their lives, fears, and private thoughts. As a university history grad and a former oral historian, I highly value the anecdotes that our elders carry, embodying the heritage of families, regions, cultures, and nations. That’s why I always encourage people to listen to the stories of the old folks in their lives, and tape them if possible, so that these tales will live on after their loved ones are gone.


This year, I continue to edit Sid Effer’s book, which reveals many parallels to the life and medical career of my father, who died in October at age eighty-five. Some of the similarities between both men are uncanny, especially considering that Sid lives in Guelph, Ont., like my dad did until he died. Editing Sid’s book is like sharing in the tale of my own father’s life, one that he never recorded.


I feel grateful for the opportunity to read Sid’s poignant words about heartache, love lost, and the joy he experienced at the birth of his children. His memoir is not just a string of medical achievements; it’s a tender account of fond times with family and friends. If my dad had written a similar memoir, I think that it would have weighed far more heavily on his medical career. A brief diary he kept in the mid-1960s, for instance, focuses primarily on his work, with only occasional references to his children and wife. Thanks, Sid, for presenting a balance between your work at the hospital and your life with your loved ones. 

(To find out more about my editing services, click here.)

January 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm
Leave a Reply