Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Memories

Does time fly by for you like it does for me at Christmas time? There are so many things I want to do that the time really flies by. I only accomplish a small portion of what I hoped I could do. As you write your story you will probably have a lot of memories of holiday celebrations because there are usually many things that we do in preparation for our celebration. Write down what you have done this year to celebrate. Then write down the things you have done several times in the past that have become traditions and are an important part of your celebration. Write down the things that were different this year and in the past and why they were different. Ask family members what things they remember from Christmas celebrations. You might could write a whole book just on your Christmas memories.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Countdown to Christmas

Today is December 1st and many people use an advent calendar to count down the days till Christmas. Why not add a few minutes each day from now till Christmas to write down a memory about Christmas from the past. By Christmas Day you should have a great collection of Christmas memories that you could share with your family. You also could start scanning in past photos of Christmas time and make a special photo CD or photo collage or scrapbook to give as a special to someone.
Consider making personalized gifts this year. Use family photos and stories and create a one-of-a-kind gift for someone you love.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories

With Thanksgiving just finished, you probably remember many Thanksgiving Days from the past. What did your family do for Thanksgiving? Did you travel to your grandparent's house? Did you stay at home and just have a family celebration? Did you invite friend's or other family members?
What was the menu like for your Thanksgiving Dinner? Did you have traditional dishes or did you have new and different food? Did you decorate the house for Thanksgiving? Was it cold and snowy or warm and sunny? Did you have any memorable travel experiences?
When I was growing up, we mostly had Thanksgiving at home with just our family. I do remember a big Thanksgiving Dinner with my grandmother and my mother's sister and her family joining us. I remember my Dad putting a board across a couple of cans to make a bench for more seating. My mother cooked several pies ahead of time. Usually Thanksgiving was cold, but it didn't normally snow. It could be snowy though. As an adult, we often traveled to have Thanksgiving with family members when we had a four day weekend.
My stepmother died just before Thanksgiving and her funeral was held a day or two before Thanksgiving. We were invited by my brother's friends for Thanksgiving Dinner. That was probably the most unusual Thanksgiving we had. We were appreciative of the friend's kindness, but it was still a rather solemn Thanksgiving.
Now work schedules of family members makes it hard to get together. We have had late evening dinners. We have had dinners on Friday instead of Thursday. Thanksgiving has had to become much more flexible. In some ways it is sad that the world has changed and people have become too busy to stop and celebrate a holiday together. The work world has become twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week leaving less time for families to get together. Still there is much to grateful for and Thanksgiving celebrations are important even if not celebrated in the traditional way. Recording what you have done for Thanksgiving celebrations is an important part of your family history.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Writing About Your School Years

When you write about your school years, it's easy to start with the obvious. You will probably put down where you lived, what school you went to, the events you remember from school, the friends you had, what subjects you liked best, the teachers you had and so on. Make sure you include what else went on in your life. What did you do when you were not in school? How did you spend your summer vacation? What was your family like? How many brothers and sisters did you have? Were your parents working or at home? What happened when you got sick? What kind of a house did you live in? What was the town or city like that you grew up in? What world events do you remember happening?
You may not be able to remember exactly when certain things happened. What you write down doesn't have to be strictly chronological. Unless your parents have a good memory or it is written down some where, you may not be able to remember exactly when certain things happened; yet, you wouldn't want to not write down about the time you fell and broke a front tooth, just because you can't remember if it was fall or spring of the 1st or 2nd grade when it happened. It still had a significant impact on your life and should be recorded.
You will probably add frequently to this part of your life story as you recall other events that you didn't think of when you first started writing. Again writing on the computer has advantages, since you can add in the additional memories wherever you would like to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Starting School

What age did you start school? This can be very interesting to compare when your parents started school, when you started school and when your children started school. Kindergarten didn't use to exist. Then it was for a short period of time. When I went to Kindergarten, it was for six weeks during the summer. Then Kindergarten went through the school year for half a day for my daughters.
What was the first day of school like? Were you scared or excited? Did you already have friends to attend school with or did you have to make all new friends? You may have to rely on what your parents tell you about your first day. I don't remember my first day of school. If you don't remember your first day of school, then describe a typical day of school.
Do you remember your teacher? Do you remember the other students in the class? Do you remember anything in particular that you learned? Do you remember any incidents that happened? Were there any special performances or activites that you remember? Did you have any accidents at school? Did you walk to school, get a ride from your parents or ride the school bus? What did you do for lunch? What did you do for holidays at school?
Most of us spent a good part of our childhood in school. The things that happened in school truly affect and shape our lives.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Gratitude Dance!

Here is a wonderful video to help you feel gratitude in your life.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


As you write about your early years, think of the things that you are grateful that happened during that time of your life. Were you grateful for your parents, your brothers and sisters, your grandparents? Were you grateful for the kind of home you lived in? Were you grateful for any pets in your home? Were you grateful for certain things that were done for you? Some things are really hard to be grateful for when you are going through them. Years later, those same things may be something you are really grateful happened, because of what you learned from the experience.
What kinds of things were other members of your family grateful for? Thinking of the things you were grateful for can give you new insights and thoughts of what to write about. Start making a gratitude list and watch your story expand with all the things you're grateful for.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Preschool Years

Most people have few preschool memories. What memories you may have from before the age of five are probably ones that made a big emotional impact in your life. One memory I have is when our dog had puppies. I picked out one for my own. I wanted to keep the puppy. My parents wanted to keep a male puppy. I had picked out a female. I remember a man coming and wanting the puppy I had chosen. He offered to pay me a quarter for the puppy. I ended up accepting the quarter although I really wanted to keep the puppy.

Some of the memories from preschool years are things you have been told about. You may or may not really be remembering the incident, but you have been told about it so many times, that you know about the incident. I don't know if I actually remember the time I went out to the chicken coop and started breaking eggs. Chickens love broken eggs. They will snatch a piece of egg shell from another chicken's mouth and run with it. I was having a great time watching the chickens. Since selling eggs was our family's income, when I was discovered I was in real trouble. I can see the chickens snatched the eggs and running in my mind, but I don't know if I actually remember the incident or if I remember my parent's telling about the incident.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today's Halloween

Since today is Halloween, I've been thinking about how Halloween was when I was younger and how it is now. As you write about your life think about the holidays. Many of your memories will be from holidays when special things were done. When I was young I went Trick-or-Treating with my brother. We lived a mile from town and my parents would drive us to town and let us walk around Trick-or-Treating. We would get things like apples and cookies as well as candy. At a great aunt and uncle's house we always got a ginger-snap cookie. At another home we had to tell a joke or sing a song in order to get a treat. Our church had a Halloween Party and I remember a spook alley in the basement. Spaghetti and Jello take on new characteristics such as worms and brains when you add the power of suggestion and a dimly lit room.
Creating a costume was part of the fun. We didn't buy costumes. We put on different clothes, added a few props and some makeup and became something else for the evening. The costume I remember best was dressing up as a hobo. I put on worn-out clothes with holes and patches, tied one of my Dad's handkerchiefs to the end of a stick, put cold cream and then soot from the coal-burning furnace on my face and I was all set to go.
Through the years I helped my daughters create their own costumes. Trick-or-Treating was still a tradition until they got into their teen years when they handed out the treats instead of collecting treats. Last year my youngest daughter and I helped to create a Haunted House right next door to us.
Now this year is totally different. No one came to the door Trick-or-Treating as we live in an older neighborhood. The fun of Halloween doesn't seem to be here. Maybe next year I can volunteer to help someone who gets a lot of Trick-or-Treaters to hand out candy.
I could write much more about Halloween. If I get out the Halloween photos, it would remind me of things that happened. I don't know much about Halloween for my parents. It would be interesting to study about what kinds of traditions were observed in the 1920's when my parents were young. Maybe I can ask some people I know who are about the age my parents would be if they were still alive.
Start recording your memories of Halloween. What happened this year? What happened last year? What happened as far back as you can remember? Ask your children about their memories. Ask you brothers and sisters and your parents what they remember. You'll add a lot to your story with just what you remember from this holiday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

First Year of Life

Now that you've completed your birth and the births of your family members, start on the first year of life. If you are lucky and you had a mother who wrote on the calendar about the things you did in your first year, this should be easy. If not, this part of your story may be very short. Look for photos taken of you in the first year of life. Maybe there are medical records of visits with doctors that tell how much you weighed. If your parents are still alive interview them about what your first year of life was like. You could like for what major events happened in the world during your first year of life. Ask them how those events affected your family. You may also ask older brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles also about what happened during that year. You may learn some things that you never knew before.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Add Photos, Certificates, Keepsakes

Now you've started to write your story, find baby photos taken shortly after birth and scan in the photos and add them to the story. Add certificates such as a legal birth certificate, a hospital birth certificate, religious certificates, birth announcements in the newspaper, copies of birth announcements sent out to friends and family and any other written record of the birth. Maybe a family member recorded the birth in a journal or diary. Maybe a family calendar had a note written on it about the birth. Other keepsakes such as a first pair of socks or booties, a blanket, a pacifier, could be added to a scrapbook or photos could be taken, scanned in and added to the story. As you find these items you will probably think of more to add to your story.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Now answer the questions regarding the births of your parents, your brothers and sisters, your grandparents, your spouse, your children. You should know the details of your children's births well. You may know younger brother's and sister's births well from actually being there. You will have to ask parents or grandparents for the details or other family members who would know. Maybe you could do a comparison of the births of different members of the family.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Start your Story

If you want to share your family's story, you can start by writing down what you know. I plan to post a question or an idea that will help you in preserving your family's story 3 or 4 times a week. Hopefully this will help you remember the things you want to share about your family's story.
To start think about the day you were born. What was the date? Where were you born? Who attended your birth? Were there any unusual circumstances? Were you healthy or were there problems? What was your family like when you were born? How many brothers and sisters did you have when you were born? Start writing the answers to these questions. You may think of more things later. If you write this on your computer in a word processing program, you can add in anything additional that you remember. Even if you only put down your date of birth and place of birth, you will have a start that you can add to later.