New Year's Resolutions for 2011
I wish you a happy and healthy New Year. This article is about giving the gift of family history to children and future generations.
"How might I do that?" you ask.
First of all, keep in mind the story of your life is unique. You have seen, heard and done things no one else has. Why not take a moment to write about an amusing event from your past? That would be a good start.
You might also sit down with a notebook to start a journal. Even if you only make entries once a year, it still will be a record someone will cherish in the future.
I recall finding a few entries in a Big Chief school notepad my mother started, then quickly stopped. Here is a quote that gave me a snapshot of her thinking on January 1, 1942.
"Yes, I am remembering today. I am sorry that some are unhappy because of mistakes they have made." I have no idea who she was talking about being unhappy. But I am delighted to know that she was thinking of others that day.
You might start saving mementos of special occasions. I have especially enjoyed going to plays. Sometimes I have tucked a playbill into my journal as a keepsake. I find they these old playbills tickle an amusing recollection whenever I pull one out.
If you do not want to spend the effort in writing your recollections down, consider letting someone interview you. Or, you might interview someone yourself. The Three Rivers Museum has over 200 interviews preserved for the future.
Another precious gift to your family and friends involves your looking through your photographs. As you do, take the time to write the "when, where and who" on the back of the picture. (If you have a collection of digital photographs, take the time to label them with this information as well. This can be done in the file name.)
My parents kept their family pictures in my father's World War II Army ammunitions box. The only problem with this effort is that my mother used the wooden box to sit on when scrubbing behind my ears (and behind the ears of my three younger brothers).
This meant that my brothers and I could freely riffle through the photographs whenever we were alone in the bathroom. Of course, we often took the opportunity to do so. The resulting confusion we created means that my family collection now has many orphan images for which it is very difficult to identify the when's, where's and who's.
I have been trying my best to sort this mess into some meaningful order. One day I was trying to figure out where ten photographs fitted in the timeframe of my father's life. All I had were a group of negatives and one print to work with.
I finally decided that the pictures dated from the days when my father was in Army Basic Training in the summer of 1942.
I hope your New Year Resolutions will include one of the following:
Start a diary
Save a memento in a scrapbook
Identify the particulars on the back of your photographs
These New Year's Resolutions are especially aimed at the 10,000 Baby boomers who will be turning 65 each and every day during the coming year. Please resolve to give a little of yourself to the future. Happy New Year!