Saturday, July 14, 2018

What kind of plants were grown in your home?

Did your family grow houseplants?  Did you grow them to add beauty to your home?  Did you grow them to absorb toxins in the home?  Did you grow them to eat?  Did they grow really well, or did they struggle to live, or did they even die?

My mother grew geraniums in our kitchen window.  I remember how pretty they were when they bloomed with red flowers.  They had a smell that when I smell it even now reminds me of my home when I was growing up.

Over the years I started growing houseplants that would clean the air like spider plants, aloe vera plants, and others.  I tried growing dwarf orange and lemon trees which didn't do very well.  One of my daughters planted a seed from an orange and it grew pretty big, but not to the point of getting any fruit.  I tried planting a pineapple top, and although it grew big, it never produced a pineapple.  I was given a Christmas Cactus plant which is fun to see if it will bloom for Christmas.

Write about the houseplants you may remember from your childhood as well as the ones you have grown yourself.  If you remember your grandparents growing houseplants write about those too.  Take photos so you can remember those plants.  Write about what you learned about growing plants.  Write about your successes and your failures.  Houseplants add to the atmosphere in a home and they can trigger memories.  Those memories will add to your story.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Best Friend

Have you had a best friend in your life?

At times in our lives we have a friend come along who we enjoy spending time with and who we can count on for help.  Recording who those special friends are can contribute much to our stories. 

As a child I didn't feel like I had a best friend except when I was in second grade.  There was a girl in my class that I enjoyed playing with at recess.  I didn't see outside of school, but at school I felt like she was my best friend.  By the next year, she had moved and I haven't seen her since. 

As an adult, I couldn't pick out just one best friend.  I have several friends that I enjoy talking to or doing things with.  I have one friend who has told me I can call her any time day or night if I need something.  I have other friends who have offered different kinds of help.  Friends do make our lives much happier.  Recording some of the things you have done with friends can add to your story.  Don't forget your family may be some of your very best friends.  Record the things you've done with your family that helps to make them your best friends.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Have you worked some place special? 

If you have ever worked in a memorable or historical place, have you recorded things about where you work and the kind of work you did?  Have you had an ancestor that has worked in some place special?  What kind of work did they do?  Even ordinary workplaces can have interesting stories that could be recorded as part of your life history or your family member's history.

I had the privilege of working in the museum in our small town.  When I was first hired, I was asked to clean all of the items in the museum and their display cases.  I was asked to label each item and record identifying information about each item and enter it into a data base.  I would paint a small patch of an item with white-out liquid and then after it was dry write a number on it.  Then I would measure each item and record the measurements, what was written on the item, what it was used for and what we knew of its history such as the name of the donor.  Then I would use clear nail polish to seal the number so that it would hopefully remain on the item for years.  If the item was made of cloth or other materials that couldn't be painted on, I would sew on a small fabric label and write the number on it.  This was to make it easier in the future to find information about the artifacts in the museum. 

I learned a lot about the surrounding area working at the museum.  I did not grow up in that area so I didn't know that much of it's history.  I did find it fascinating.

I have wondered about what my ancestors felt about moving to a new area that they knew nothing about.  I think it would have been interesting if they would have recorded more about the area they lived in.

When you write your own story, include information about where you worked and what kind of work you did.  Write about the community you lived in and what it was like.  All of this very much affects your life story and the way you look at life.  Record what kind of work your ancestors did as well and what the communities they lived in were like.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Memories of Places You have Traveled

What places have you or your family traveled? Are there any special memories from visiting certain places? What do you remember?

 A lot of people take a yearly vacation to some place special. You may have pictures or even videos of the places you have visited. Pictures say a lot about your trips, but there are stories to go along with the pictures. Why did you go there? Was it as nice as you thought it would be? Who went with you? Did you spend a few hours or a few days there? Every trip has a story behind it. Write about your trips to add to your story.

 I grew up on a farm. We didn't travel very much. I don't think we ever went on a trip more than two or three hours from home. Usually we only went for the day, since my dad had to get someone to take care of the animals while we were gone. Most of our trips were to Salt Lake City since it was the closest big city. My parents may have needed to do some shopping there, but they usually planned something fun for us to do. We went to the zoo, the amusement park, the state capitol, Pioneer Village, and frequently Temple Square.

 My husband planned trips for our family to see some of the beautiful places around us. He took us to Yellowstone on a trip up to see his parents. He took us to see fireworks on the Fourth of July of the lake at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. He took us to see the Giant Redwoods and to see Yosemite National Park.

 We didn't take photos of many of the places we went. Remembering cameras and film and paying for developing the film was often not done when we traveled. Today with digital cameras and smartphone cameras you usually have a camera with you. The cost of developing film is gone. You just have to have memory to store the photos. You can choose to print the photos or you can keep them in a digital format and view them whenever you choose. Many photos of places are available online now. Seeing those photos can bring back memories. You can purchase photos or you may even find some photos available for your use without charge. Even if you don't have photos of you or your family at a certain place, you still have the memories that you can write down to preserve your story.

 Take time to write about the places you have gone and your memories of those places and add to your story.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hair Styles

How did your ancestor wear their hair?

Hair styles change throughout the years.  How your ancestor wore their hair probably was affected by the hair styles at that time.  Both of my grandmothers wore their hair in a bun for their wedding pictures.  My maternal grandmother continued to wear her hair long and put it up in a bun throughout her life.  When I attended college, I was able to visit with her on my lunch break.  Some days she asked me to comb her hair and put it up in a bun since she suffered from arthritis in her hands which made it difficult for her to do.  My paternal grandmother had shorter hair in the photos of her later years of life.  The choice to have shorter hair may have had to do with the fact she had nine children.

Men's hair length and style plus whether they had mustaches or beards are also affected by the hairstyles of the time.  My paternal grandfather had a short hair and no facial hair in the photos I had of him.  Recently I found a photo of him posted online and in a book with a mustache.  At first I didn't think it could be him when I found it online.  Then when I found it in a book also, I realized it was him even though he looked different to me.

Of course the color of hair can be important in identifying someone.  Black and white photos can make it difficult to tell the color of hair.  You can tell the difference between blonde and black with some shades of brown in-between, but you can't tell red hair from brown or white hair from blonde.  When recording information about a black and white photo, it would be good to indicate the color of hair if you know what color it was.  You may also want to record whether hair coloring was used to change the natural color of the hair.

You may want to record how a certain hair style was obtained.  Did it require sleeping on curlers?  Was it braided?  Was it teased to create a bouffant or beehive hair style?  Was the hair naturally curly or was it permed?

Part of your own story could include how you wore your hair and why you wore it that way.  Did you have long hair because you wanted it, or did your mother or father not want your hair to be cut?  Record why you decided to change your hair style.  Did you try to wear your hair differently or were you content to wear your hair the same way each day?  Did it take a long time to fix your hair or did you just comb it and go?

Add more to your ancestor's story or to your own story with a description of the hair.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

What is your favorite time of day?
Do you wake up early so you can get a lot done early in the morning?  Do you prefer to stay up late?  Or is the middle of the day your best time to get work done?  Writing about what time of day you prefer to work can tell a lot about you.  The time you need to be at a job probably determines whether you are get up early or not.  Sometimes you may stay up late trying to get a little more done.  Your daily schedule may seem pretty boring, but in the future you may really appreciate knowing what you did at what time of day. 

You might have some information on some of your ancestors' work schedule.  If they ran a business, you may be able to find their store hours.  Writing about what your ancestor's day looked like could give insights into their lives. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Cards and Letters

Did you send out Christmas cards this year? Did you receive Christmas cards this year? Did you write a Christmas letter or receive a Christmas letter? These cards and letters may remind you of things you want to record in your story. What significant things happened during the past year? Did you travel anywhere? Did you attend a special event? Did a family member or friend get married or graduate or accomplish something else significant? Was there a change in where you live or work? At the end of the year we often reflect on the things that happened throughout the year. This can be a good time to write more of your story. Use your Christmas cards and letters as prompts about what to write. If you have kept cards and letters from the past, use those to fill in more details when you write your story. If you are writing the life story of someone who has passed away, you will be helped a lot if you have cards or letters written by them or to them. A lot of information can be found in letters. I am fortunate to have letters that my late husband sent to me while we were dating and living far apart. Those letters can trigger some memories of that time frame. A friend of mine gave me an idea in keeping letters. She put the letters in sheet protectors in a binder in chronological order. That is a great way to keep the letters so you can look through them without a lot of wear and tear on them. It also allows you to add additional letters if you find them later on and it will allow you to put them in chronological order. You can also scan letters in your computer and save them in a file titled with the name of the person the letter is from. If you have to downsize when moving, this may be the best way to keep those letters. If you have any letters or cards, use them when you write your story or the story of a family member. Save any letters or notes in cards physically or on your computer and add more details to your story.