Unfortunately, most of us don’t remember stories that way. We remember the Cliff Notes version, a summary of what happened. As we try to capture a story in a memoir or family history, we can work at remembering. Maybe some of the details are there, somewhere in the recesses of our memory. But many are not.
This is where it’s okay to draw upon imagination. For example, if you want to recreate a conversation that occurred years ago or maybe one you have only heard about from relatives as a part of their stories you won’t know exactly what was said. To tell the story vividly you have to imagine what the participants would have said and recreate the dialogue.
What constitutes “truth” in recounting stories is that you use your imagination to get the emotion and meaning of what happened right rather than being bound by the need to report only the limited factual details that you know or can recall.