Write your memoirs as your personal background check.

Early Church Memories

Personal Background Investigation- Assignment #6

Did you attend church as a youngster? What are your earliest memories of church?

country church 1


Example from  LaVelle Pitts’ childhood

I was exposed to a different kind of drugs as a child.  My mother and daddy drug me to church whenever the doors were open.  My earliest memory of church is around the age of four.  My family went to an old country church in Holmes County, Florida, where services might be long.  Mother always took a quilt to make a bed underneath the bench for me.  When services got lively with singing, shouting and stomping of feet, I soon learned the safest place was to stay under the bench.  I remember one real quiet gentleman who always sat in the same pew on the inside aisle.  He generally sat looking straight ahead with an unemotional expression until the spirit hit him.  He would jump straight up, give out a loud whoop and run full speed down the aisle, around the pews, returning where he started.  Then he’d sit back down and resume his stoic expression like nothing had happened. Those church services left an impression and  fond memories of genuine church fellowship.


Describe your childhood bedroom

Personal Background Check-Assignment #5 Describe your childhood bedroom. What was the view from your window?

hand crank window

Example from Sally Jo’s childhood:
I shared a bedroom with my older sister. It featured a built-in double vanity to the left of the entry. Opposite was a set of unusual hand crack windows that covered the wall at the head of our twin beds. My bed was so full of stuffed animals and dolls, there was little space left for me to slide in and sleep. The windows overlooked a side yard with azalea bushes and a simple little gray house next door.

But the summer before sixth grade, that simple house became the home of my best friend. For three glorious years the distance between our houses disappeared. As constant companions you might see us walking to school, doing homework, checking out the latest movies and song hits, planning backyard camp outs or talking about boys.

Then at the end of eighth grade, my friend’s father completed his pharmacy program at the University of Florida and they moved away. The distance between our houses moved further apart and once again the view from my bedroom window became that of a simple gray house.

Describe Your Childhood Home

Personal Background Investigation- Assignment #4-
Describe your childhood home. Did you have a favorite room or memory in that home?

Example from LaVelle Pitts’ Childhood:red house
I grew up in a typical farmhouse in the 1930’s in Holmes County, Florida. It had three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room with a fireplace, a front porch and back porch.
My favorite room was the living room because that was where we heard all of grandma’s stories, made peanut brittle, and gathered on Friday nights to listen to the Grand Ole Opry. Friday night was the only night we could stay up late.
When the wind blew, we could hear it whistle through the cracks in the house. When it rained we had to get boilers and pans to stick under all the places it leaked. After a rain we were serenaded by thousands of frogs croaking outside.
In the winter, the cold air coming through the cracks was rough. Mother put three or four homemade quilts over us and sometimes she would warm a pressing iron or heat bricks in the fireplace, wrap them in a towel or blanket and place the homemade heater at our feet.
My childhood home brings back warm and cozy memories.

What’s Your Name?

name tagThe most basic part of the background investigation is a person’s name. So here is question #3 to explore.

Who gave you your name and why?
What is the meaning of your name?
Did you have a family nickname? How did you get it?

My name, Sally Jo, was picked by my mother. She said it was the name of a pretty American Indian girl in Ardmore, Oklahoma, (likely Chickasaw) and she had always liked the name. My mother was insistent that this was a double first name, not a first and middle name. Double first names seem to be a common Southern practice, i.e. Mary Jo, Billy Bob, Betty Sue. There are a variety of theories about the reasons for double names. For some it is to make it easier to distinguish the person from a relative they are named after–call them Billy Bob instead of just Bob. Or, the double names may keep relatives at peace by combining names from two different relatives. Other history points to the use of double names in the genteel aristocratic South where is was fashionable to have double Christian names.

Taken separately my name Sally is a derivative of Sarah (Hebrew) meaning ‘princess.’
Jo is a variant of Joseph (Hebrew) and means ‘Jehovah increases.’

My nickname is SJ or Sal, just because it’s easier to spell and speak I suppose.

It’s your turn. Tell us about your name.

What is Your Earliest Childhood Memory? (Writing Your Own Background Check)

What is your earliest childhood memory? What Is Your Earliest Childhood Memory?

As a private investigator, I work in my husband’s agency, LaVelle Pitts Investigations (www.pittsinvestigations.com).    He taught me what I know in  detective work and that sparked the idea for this Investigator Prose blog.

He just completed the task of compiling his memories, personal experiences  and lessons learned to hand down to the next generation.  It took over ten years working on it off and on, but it will be a lasting treasure.

So I plan to use many examples from his life stories in this blog to help spark memories of your own.  Please share your stories as we embark on this BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION of past experiences.  I look forward to reading others’ past remembrances.

Personal Background Investigation- Assignment #2

  What is your earliest childhood memory?  Why did that memory make an impression? 

Example from LaVelle Pitts’ Childhood:

I remember several things about the third and fourth years of my life.  My mom, dad, sister and I lived on a small farm about five miles north of Bonifay, Florida.  My sister was four years older than me and often found me to be quite irritating.  Looking back I really can’t blame her.  I guess one reason was that I was the baby, and people made extra allowances for the baby in the family.  Second, I think I really was a pain in the rear.

My dad was a preacher and preached when he could.  The farm was how we made a living.  In my eyes, my dad could fix anything, knew everything and everyone loved him.  He was the greatest shooter in the world, best fisherman, farmer, mechanic, preacher, and fighter.  I grew up with my dad as my hero.

Some of the things that really stood out in my memory were unexpected incidents that occurred now and then.  I remember a woman walked up to our house one afternoon with a little girl and boy and the girl was really crying.  The woman explained that her two kids were fishing on the creek and the boy snatched a hook into the lip of his sister.  She wanted my dad to get it out.  I recall that Dad got a razor blade and enlarged the hole in her lip a little and pulled the hook through.  This came with many screams and tears from the little girl.  From that day on I have been very careful of people fishing near me.

This incident left a lasting impression and I learned that many skills are discovered out of necessity.




Write Your Own Background Check

pen and notebookWant to learn Secrets of a PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR?

You can start by writing your own BACKGROUND CHECK.

Some call it a memoir, or written legacy but in DETECTIVE terms, I’ll call it your background.  It will be your written record of how you remember events that happened in your lifetime and your own personal experiences.  What is your family history?  What are the childhood memories, memorable incidents, cherished traditions, dreams and spiritual lessons encountered in your lifetime?  No matter your age, young or old, now is a good time to start investigating your background.

I would like to invite you to join me on this online SURVEILLANCE of self.  Together we can observe, and record and document—the watch words of an investigator—your life experiences as you remember them to be a forever treasure for generations to come.  As is written:

Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.

                                                                 Psalm 102:18

On these pages I’ll encourage you to work as a PRIVATE EYE and spy on yourself.

Here’s your chance to write your life story—your legacy.

I will give you bi- weekly prompts with examples.  Then you jot down your thoughts and share if you like (some things understandably will be for family only.  It will be a fun and sometimes hard walk down memory lane.


 A good background check starts with the basics.  List names of family members. (parents, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents (on mother’s and father’s side). 

That’s it!  The beginning of your BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION.