Quincy woman creating keepsake storybooks by telling stories of people’s lives and events

Maureen Klues

Maureen Klues shows some of the books she has created through her "Memoirs by Maureen" storytelling business. | David Adam

QUINCY — The story Maureen Klues never had the chance to tell gave her the inspiration to start her own storytelling business.

Klues recently started Memoirs by Maureen in the Quincy area. She will capture the story of an event, a story of one’s life or create a tribute for a person and put it together in a storybook format.

“No matter your age, storytelling and documenting your history has value and importance,” Klues said. “How often does someone say, ‘I wish I had sat down with my parents to hear their life story while I still had the chance’? Oftentimes, someone thinks they have all the time in the world to share their life experiences. Then time gets away from them, or they just don’t know where to start.”

Klues has written testimonials throughout her career in marketing and public relations. She recalls when she was 20 years old and found a part-time job transcribing the writings of a female poet in a local nursing home.

“She really didn’t have much time left, but I didn’t realize that,” Klues sad. “I think I was the last person to visit with her and hear her poems, hear her stories. I don’t think it really went anywhere beyond that. She was only able to share it with me. She was trying to kind of leave a legacy behind with the work that she did.

“That was the first time that I met with someone one on one and tried to put their life story together.”

Process to create hard copy storybook takes 4-6 months

Now Klues offers a simple process that takes about four to six weeks to create a hard copy storybook. She builds questions to a client’s story needs, conducts interviews and transcribes audio recordings of the interviews. A story is crafted and photos provided by the client are used to produce the storybook, which averages around 25 pages. She also provides a digital copy. 

The cost for the entire project typically is around $400.

“A lot of people during (the COVID-19 pandemic) had time to think about what’s important in life and what do you want to do with your life,” Klues said. “I’ve always really enjoyed telling people stories and the testimonial aspect of things. I don’t really think this is offered anywhere in the area. People have great stories to share and tell, but you don’t always get the stories while you still can. It’s kind of lost when that person is gone.”

Klues is working with the Quincy Medical Group Foundation, which is giving the gift of her storytelling to some of its clients through its Moments That Matter program. She recently told the story of someone who just turned 102 years old.

“He loves to dance, so does his 96-year-old girlfriend,” Klues said. “Someone threw a party for them at the Senior Center. Their favorite band came, and their friends and family saw them get out there and dance. They had a special moment, and we’re also celebrating their life.”

‘It’s like a jigsaw puzzle’

Klues says she likes telling someone’s story in their voice.

“People have all these ideas in their head and all these memories they want to share, but they don’t know how to organize all those things into a great story of their life,” she said. “When people communicate their story, they typically communicate it well. I try to keep it as close to what they’re actually saying to me as possible. 

“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. They throw all the pieces down, all out of order. My job is to organize it and present that completed puzzle.”

When asked why should someone go through the storybook process, Klues replies, “Why not?”

“Why would you not want to understand where you came from, the history of your family, the ups and the downs of life?” she said. “This is about seeing the meaning of someone’s life and appreciating the life they have. People might say, ‘We have time to do that. We can do that later.’ Today, we all realize how short life can be, and how quickly things go by.

“The best time to look into the storytelling process is now. This service is a gift that loved ones can cherish for years to come.” 

Gift certificates are available. Contact Klues at 217-653-1667 or maureenklues@icloud.com for more information.

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