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.