Pen & Ink Communications

Straight to the point

Reflections of a Lifetime

Remember the childhood game of whispering something into someone's ear, and that something is successively whispered down the line? When finally repeated aloud by the last person, it usually bore little resemblance to the original message.

Life stories are similar. With each oral account by a different relative, the facts become altered, embellished, or even left out from the original story. Oral storytelling suffers from age and retelling, whereas written documentation ensures posterity.

Life stories are priceless, cherished gifts you document for future generations. It would be a travesty to deny others the opportunity to learn more about you and your family's history and lifestyle. By seizing such a golden opportunity, valuable life lessons will be imparted as well as insights into you/your relatives' values, morals, attitudes,and plain old nostalgia. After all, age usually ushers deeper insights.

Because memories have a universal quality, they easily cross generational barriers. Nonetheless, when you record your stories, you are doing so as much for yourself as for future generations.

Who I Was - Who I Am
What do you owe yourself? And what do you owe your descendants?

Were you an adopted child now reunited with a birth parent as an adult? Were siblings separated early on through divorce, adoption, or parent death and now rediscovered? How precious the stories!

Through informal interviews, you will reacquaint yourself with historical events you witnessed, uncover long-forgotten lessons learned in childhood, revisit once familiar destinations resulting either from military duty or pleasure trips,and recall seemingly ordinary people who have influenced your life in some manner.

Younger generations are and will want to understand what your attitudes were, how values were formed, and how they influence you yet today. Your life story goes far beyond what went wrong or right in your life; rather, it evolves into an important detailed insight into life's highs and lows, and perhaps how you were changed by life's journey. 

Your life is important! Affix it in time by preserving your story.  


Recording Life Stories
The process is simple. You will be interviewed in the comfort of your home choosing personal topic areas to discuss while being digitally recorded. Your narrative account will then be transcribed, polished, and organized. You will have the opportunity to make changes before it is printed in book form.

Your stories are printed on archival paper with a lifespan of 150 years, as well as the archival hardbound cover. Black and white photos and/or personal documents are included. Researching ancestral genealogy and/or obtaining courthouse documents are also available services at an hourly rate plus expenses. Unlimited black and white photos and documents may be included, although you will be charged the printer's going rate for quantities beyond the preset standards.

Travel and hotel expenses are additional if outstate and/or out of state travel is necessary.

A Living Legacy
The following book options are available.

Nostalgia Edition

  • five hours of taped interviews
  • one 8.5x11 hardbound book with title
  • two pages (4 sheets) of black/white photos and/or personal documents
Heritage Edition
  • seven hours of taped interviews
  • one 8.5x11 hardbound book with title
  • four pages (8 sheets) of black/white photos and/or personal documents
Legacy Edition
  • nine hours of taped interviews
  • one 8.5x11 hardbound book with title
  • six pages (10 sheets) of black/white photos and/or personal documents
Custom Edition
  • custom designed with open interview time and the number of individuals interviewed
  • one 8.5x11 hardbound book with title
  • open number of black/white photos and/or personal documents
  • reproduced genealogy "trees" provided by family
  • genealogy research

The Nostalgia Edition is appropriate for one person. The Legacy interview time could be long for some and might be more appropriate for two or three people. Any number of black/white photos can be added. Any number of additional books may be purchased.


For additional information about preserving your family's legacy or a personal consultation, please call Mary Coons at 763-404-2327 during business hours Monday - Friday, or email Address written inquiries to Pen & Ink Communications, 11150 River Road NE, Hanover, MN 55341.


 powered by passion


Presentation Testimonials

"This was the most rewarding educational interaction I've had with a group of students, EVER! Honestly, very eyeopening for them, as NONE of them have ever been outside the U.S. You have inspired them to think bigger and past the limits of American mainstream culture. What a perfect way to promote a country and learn firsthand about the complex fabric that intertwines culture and religion. Thank you."

Brenda Butterfield, MSW, instructor

Marriages & Families Worldwide

University of Minnesota-Duluth

"You clearly helped to promote a greater understanding of these two cultures through your well-illustrated and clearly presented PowerPoint program. We at the Alworth Institute appreciate the work that you are doing to enhance both Arab and American understanding of the other. This is so important at a time when simple ignorance can exacerbate political tensions."

Cindy Christian, PhD

Program Associate

Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Institute for International Studies

University of Minnesota-Duluth

"To have you and Ms. al Sheroogi both on campus to discuss both Ms. Coons' excellent book and the larger issues of truth and perception between our communities was a powerful experience for all who attended. As you said, the future of relations between all sorts of groups and individuals depends on their ability to see each other without preconceived ideas and assmptions. The truth, in many ways, shall set us free."

Marcellus Davis, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

Michael Wall, Director of Alumni Relations

Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Coon Rapids, Minnesota

"I enjoyed the human application of what education can do to bring people together. I think it's so important to have these presentations for people with inaccurate assumptions of the Arab culture and Muslim religion."

Anonymous audience member

Rasmussen College

"I would definitely recommend the speaker. Although Indoc gives us information about the Arab culture, the speaker had more overall information with more cultural information. Indoc needs to include her to help prepare Americans coming to the Middle East to know more about the culture here."

Anonymous military soldier

NSA Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain

"Schools should be busting down doors to have her speak. Cultural awareness should be part of every school's curriculum through all grades!"

Anonymous audience participant

Buffalo Unitarian Church

Buffalo, Minnesota

"This lecture was one of the most interesting lectures I have ever attended. It made more sense when Mary told us that Arab was a culture and Islam was a religion, and that culture could rank higher in some cases over the religion."


University of Minnesota - Duluth


"Mary, thank you so much for  hosting our Modern Knowledge School staff here in Bahrain and providing an exceptional presentation. Your footprints are changing the lives of our future and promoting peace." 


Dr. Cynthia Gessling, Director of Curriculum

Modern Knowledge School, Juffair, Kingdom of Bahrain


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