Friday, April 28, 2006

Scrapbooks or Memory Books - Sentimental Reminders

Several years ago I used to receive a monthly crafting magazine that I enjoyed. One month I received a notice that the magazine was going to change to a "paper crafts" only magazine from then on. This was just before the scrapbooking craze exploded. I thought at the time that it was crazy. How could they possibly do a whole magazine just on paper crafts. I wasn't into paper crafts and couldn't imagine what their logic was. Little did I know that "paper crafts" was about to become a multi-million dollar industry. Little did I know that years later if you entered "scrapbooks" into Google you'd get 7,860,000 hits.

When I think about it now I have to laugh. Why? Well, because I'd like to say that even though I had no idea how big scrapbooking would become I was still ahead of my time. At least in the sentimentality department. You see, I've been collecting every piece of paper, every card, every memento, etc. that I've ever received since I was about 5 years old. I have everything chronologically stored in what I call my "memory books." At last count I was on Volume #20 and had accumulated 47 years of mementoes. My "memory books" could be considered a forerunner of today's scrapbooks minus all the elaborate cut-outs, stickers, printed papers, etc.

My 20 volume's of "memory books" would be double or triple that number if I had decided to store all of the greeting cards I've ever received since I was 5 years old there as well. They are just too bulky so they are stored in plastic letter sized containers and are filed by year. At last count I had 4 large containers of cards.

Why do I keep everything? A couple of reasons. First of all, I'm like my Dad. I'm a hoarder. I keep everything. Especially anything that's sentimental. Secondly, I love history. My whole life is chronicled in those "memory books." It's so wonderful to reminisce by starting at book #1 and reading through them. Sometimes I have to scan through them to get the date for the year something may have happened. As you get older sometimes you just can't remember exactly when something happened.

I have the pages from my first diary there, my first movie ticket, my first letter. I can see my own handwriting from when I was a kid. I have pictures that my younger brothers and sister drew me or sent me. I have letters from both my Grandmothers and Aunt, who are no longer with us, stored there. I love to re-read them from time to time and think about what they may have been thinking at the time they wrote them. I have cards and letters from my beautiful step-daughter, who is also no longer with us, that I cherish dearly.

I have letters from my childhood best friend when she went away on vacation. I have my first picture booth strip. My first award. I have every wedding invitation I have ever received. Every thank-you card. Every bridal shower invitation. Every baby shower invitation. I always tried to include some of the pictures that went with the events if I had them at the time.

I have my college acceptance letters, my grades, starting with Grade 1, and all my term papers, reports, and tests from grade school through college. I even have my class "notes." The term papers, reports, and tests are stored in separate "memory books" so they are all together. I like to re-read them and reflect upon what I may have been thinking at the time. Of course, upon reflection I don't always agree with my youthful self. Time and age tend to change your perspective.

Sometimes, I wish I had the time to go backwards and create my "memory books" again with all the wonderful supplies they have available today. The problem would be it would take way too much time and - well, my "memory books" just wouldn't be the same. Would they? You see, not only do my "memory books" represent what I saved but each page is sentimental all unto itself for they were created as I was living them. They represent my creative nature during that period of my life. They represent my thinking on what was important to me then and how I chose to present it. So, to go backwards now would be to have an older woman trying to recreate what a 10 year old might have been thinking at the time. It would never be the same and would never be as sentimental.

So, I cherish the "memory books" that I have. Thank you Dad for this trait. Perhaps going forward I'll have the time to create some "memory books" using the wonderful supplies that they have available today. Perhaps, but that would require a lot of time. Unfortunately, that's not something I have a lot of these days.

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