The GAB Experience:  Testimonials

When I walked into my first Guided Autobiography class at Pasadena City College in 2015 under the direction of teacher Pam Hueckel, I didn’t realize that I was about to engage in a life changing experience that would be and continues to be one of the few literary constants in my life. In the very first class, Pam told us,” the more you remember, the more you remember.” That statement ushered me into a storehouse of memories tucked away in the folds and crevasses of my brain that never would have appeared on paper had it not been for this amazing class and its equally amazing teacher. Now four years later and 3000 miles away from Pasadena CA I am still writing down the story of my life under Pam’s tutelage through a program called Zoom which allows me to connect with my fellow classmates on-line. While writing down my own memories is the main focus of Guided Autobiography, I have been privileged to make lifelong friendships in these classes and to have heard the most interesting stories...exciting adventures, joys and sadness's, lessons in culture and difference I might never have known were it not for the 1000-word vignettes of my classmates. As long as I can put my fingers on a keyboard, I will continue to write down the many stories of my life as part of the Guided Autobiography experience. Thank goodness I made that decision five years ago to walk into that classroom in Pasadena.

I can’t recommend the Guided Autobiography process as facilitated by Pam Hueckel highly enough. And anyone who wants to talk to me about it can reach me at renifulton@gmail.com . I’d be delighted to encourage you to take the plunge into your own memories through the Guided Autobiography class.

                              -Reni

I have thoroughly enjoyed doing Guided Autobiography with Pam during the last four years! I now have a treasure trove of stories for my children, grandchildren, and me. Writing them has elicited many memories and sharing them with my GAB group has led to new friendships, as well as the fun of hearing the stories of others. Pam is a wonderful leader, thoughtful and encouraging. I consider GAB to be one of the highlights of my week!

                                     ---Barbara

So far, I have written about 20 guided autobiographical essays dedicated to my one and only grandson, now only 7 years old and to any great grandchildren that might come along the way.   Going on 79, I know there is not much time for me to tell him stories and for him to remember much. Through this medium he will discover something about his roots, where he came from and how it all began. Hopefully, this legacy will give him and the others who follow a sense of identity that will keep them grounded and make them proud.

A by-product of the GAB class was the sharpening of my mind.  As I wrote, memories flooded, and the more I remembered.  A quiet person, I found myself talking more with the appreciative younger folks about my experiences that were once relegated to the back of my mind and would have been eventually forgotten. I found also an increase in self-esteem and an added sense of purpose in this retired life. Thank you, Pam.

-Ellen

For four years, Pamela Hueckel has gracefully guided our group through many topics.  She is tactful, thorough, and hard working.  Her prompts show the depth of her commitment.  New directions for writing are thoughtful and instigate many profound observations and experiences as we share our stories.  A world has been opened for our group!

                                             

 

               ---Julia

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Pamela’s Guided Autobiography course has been one of the greatest adventures of my retirement.  We students write 1,000-word autobiographical pieces and get together every other Saturday to read them aloud to each other.  After each reading, the listeners write comments on 3X5 cards and give them to the reader, who has the pleasure of taking in the caring feedback.   Over time these readings give us students the opportunity to discover themes and details of each other’s lives and to also discover new perspectives on our own lives. 

Pamela chooses a topic for each session and creates for us a written introduction to the topic, which includes many prompting questions, as well as alternate suggested topics for those who don’t relate to the main topic.  We are encouraged to take risks like stepping outside our routine writing styles and using different forms of self-expression, such as dialogue and poetry.   At the end of a session, we frequently do written exercises to expand our writing capacities. Pamela is a marvelous teacher. Her love of literature and of the memoir genre is inspiring and infectious. Her nurturing of us and appreciation of our stories is heartfelt and expansive.  Her memory for what we write and read over time is extraordinary.  She never misses the point and expresses unique insights into our evolution as storytellers and human beings. Truly, words fail to capture what a joy it is to be guided by her. 

I highly recommend Guided Autobiography as a tool for developing one’s voice and style as a writer and for learning to articulate and value one’s personal experiences in all stages of life.  And if you can find a teacher as pitch-perfect as Pam, you will have a writing and sharing experience to treasure always.

-Susan

I was invited to attend Pam Hueckel's GAB session a year and a half ago, recommended by a fellow GABBER.  Julia told me "you may not be able to get in, Pam's sessions are quite popular", but luckily, I now consider myself a regular.  I cannot say enough about the warm reception I received, and how much I am enjoying this group.  Pam provides a variety of topics on which to write, and compared to other groups I have been in, I am quite impressed with the class size, and that everyone gets a chance to read their story to the whole group, and respond with positive feedback to the stories of others.  Pam provides a structured, safe setting, and I have heard many stories which were very personal and quite touching.  I have always loved writing but needed a push. Thanks Pam, and the group, for providing that.

                                   ---Caroline