Your Instructor: Pamela Hueckel

In 2013 I was certified to teach Guided Autobiography by The Birren Center

for Autobiographical Studies. I’ve been leading private groups and workshops as well as teaching an extension course at Pasadena City College (Pasadena, California) since January 2014.

My interest in documenting personal stories grew out of early childhood visits to my great-aunts’ home where a Victrola from an earlier time stood silent at the top of the stairs and a cooler from pre-refrigerator days hid behind a cabinet door. I became intrigued by these relics and what they taught me about my elderly aunts’ childhood experiences.  By all appearances, their lives had been strikingly different from the one I was just beginning. Eager to know more, I set out on an intermittent, ongoing quest for clues that, little by little, have deepened my understanding of my ancestors’ lives.  Years later, while caring for my aging parents, I fulfilled a longtime desire to help my father write his life story.

After studying history and French in college and graduate school, I received a Masters’ in Teaching and settled into a sixteen-year career teaching middle & high school French and social studies.  Now, as an instructor of Guided Autobiography, I draw on both my teaching skills and my love for personal history to encourage and help others rummage through their memories and organize them on paper. I never tire of watching my GAB participants awaken to the sudden discovery of a long-forgotten memory or become hooked by the unexpected joy of listening to their classmates’ stories.  We brush by people every day, unaware of the host of experiences they carry with them.  Guided Autobiography offers us a rare opportunity to discover and be enriched by the stories that reside just below the surface.

In my free time, I continue to research my ancestors’ lives and travel to the communities where they lived.  Walking, gardening, hiking, and visiting with friends and family round out my list of favorite pastimes.