Roses are red, violets are blue, love comes in all shapes, and every different hue……
Yesterday my daughter wanted to make Valentine’s to give to her classmates. So sweet. And so she asked me to find some craft stuff in our basement to make them with. Not so sweet. Due to our penchant for moving every few years I tend to let some things pile up in boxes, and those boxes in turn tend to pile up where ever we land. So I knew that I had a nice supply of V-day crafts (not to be confused with our D for doomsday supplies – canned SPAM® and a bottled water anyone?) SOMEWHERE in the mountain of boxes and unfortunately, so did my daughter.
So into the boxes we dove. More accurately, I dove. She got bored after about five minutes and went upstairs to play. Sigh. I love children.
What started as an archaeological dig for crafts soon became a walk down memory lane as I unearthed troves of old letters from an array of people who have touched my life. Love letters from my husband when we were in the long distance love affair stage. Phone bills from that time too. That is a whole other post but let me just say this – YOU ARE WELCOME Verizon staff because I single-handedly covered your holiday bonuses and possibly a couple of retirement packages in 1994. Sorry, off topic….
There were letters from old friends, letters from my Grandmother…..I could literally wall paper my house and probably your home too with the contents of the boxes. Have I mentioned that I’m a saver?
Each letter held a story and when pieced together, they tell the timeline of my life. Funny, irreverent, beautiful, heartbreaking – there are letters that cover them all within the safe confines of the boxes. These are the words that weave together to tell me who I was before the current version: ME 41.0.
I suspect that you have a stash somewhere too – letters from old sweethearts, birthday cards from a standout year, cards and notes that mark important mile stones. They are worth the dig. Or, if you are a tad bit more organized than me, they are worth opening the file cabinet.
One of my favorite ‘finds’ was a book called “Grandmother’s Memories”. Made by Hallmark®, it was a gift to my Grandmother in 1989. Over the course of the following ten years my sister’s and I would periodically pull it out when visiting her and interview Gram to fill in the blanks with her stories. The book has lead-in lines like “I remember as a teenager…” and “When I was born, my family lived at…” with spaces afterwards for the answers.
One of the best lines in the book hails from the Remember When section. The lead-in line begins: “When I was a little girl, my allowance was….” And my Grandmother’s answer: “You must be kidding.” She had a quick and dry sense of humor. This book was her love story. A love of life, a love of family, and a way for us to remember the details of a woman we adored.
We are all writers of a sort. Not in the novel-writing, blog a day, lyricist sort of way (although some of us are that too) but in the way of life stories. Every word we put out into the world – via card, letter, memory book, and yes, Facebook, Twitter (etc.) tells our own story and very often the story of those around us.
If you have gotten to this point in the post and are now thinking to yourself “Wow, I really need to get my/spouse’s/parent’s/whoever’s story written too!” (Come on, you know it just crossed your mind) here are a few ideas to get you started.
Amazon.com has a nice assortment of fill in the blank memory books. Search Books/Memory books for….and just fill in what you are looking for – children/parents/grandparents, etc.
Check your local bookstore (AND I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS ONE) for both fill-in-the-blank type memory books and regular journals that can be filled with your own questions.
Scrapbooking – a nice way to include both photos and written memories in one place. Scrapbooks can be found at local craft stores or online on websites like www.scrapbooks.com. Companies such as www.creativememories.com offer both supplies and classes on how to put it all together.
Host a family memory party. Get the generations together and pull out some pens and paper. Have everyone write family stories and then put them all together in a bound book to be shared. Leave them handwritten or type up for uniformity – there are no rules. Local print shops would be glad to help or, if you don’t have one, make your own book websites are plentiful. Plug ‘Book Binding’ into your search engine and away you go.
I never did find those Valentine’s Day supplies. Instead we printed out little notes using Word and Clip Art and taped some candy to each one – my daughter’s love story to her classmates.
Roses are red, violets are blue, every post that I write, is a love story too…..