Jan 302014
Getting caught with hand in cookie jar

Get caught with your hand in the cookie jar? Write about it!

Getting caught and getting in trouble are childhood memories we all share. Whether our crimes were big or small, numerous or far and few between, we’ve been busted. Don’t just share the times you  come off smelling like a rose. Write about those times you got in trouble (or even got away with something).

It’s interesting to look back on our “crimes” and the penalties with both a child’s and an adult’s eye. Continue reading »

Jun 052013

Originally posted April 17, 2013; updated June 5, 2013

Traveling Down Memory Lane:

Memory LaneDwellings in which we spent our childhood years take on a prominent role in our memories. Perhaps it’s that the layout of our homes dictated much of the rhythms of our daily lives as we grew up, or perhaps it’s the plasticity of the developing child’s mind that causes the memories to be so deeply chiseled there. Continue reading »

May 202013

Me at my childhood home Last month,  we looked at Writing about your Childhood Home.   “Come with me back to my Childhood Home” was the title that my grandmother used when she left us a piece about one of the homes of her childhood in her “Treasure Chest of Memories.” (See My Story: The First Treasure Chest of Memories.) She was feeling ill and used her writing as a distraction as she took her readers back in place and time. Continue reading »

May 032013

Video cameras are getting smaller and less expensive. Here are some great ways to use video clips to preserve and share your memories.

If you’re blogging, it’s easy to embed a clip into your blog. If you’re using paper and pin, simply transfer the recording to a disc or USB-drive and attach the case to your notebook.

Production Advice

You’re not looking for an Oscar or fame. Just relax and be yourself. If you don’t want to spend time editing, remember less can be more. Try simple (short) recordings.

Read a favorite story or poem.

wish it were a video clip

Oh how I wish I had this on video!

This not only preserves the story, but also preserves it in your voice, with your facial expressions. Your reading will not only include your emphases, but will also probably include the way that piece was traditionally read in your family.

In Spartanburg, SC, where I grew up, a department store displayed a beautiful diorama of Clement Clark Moore’s The Night before Christmas each year. In my youth, part of our Christmas Eve tradition was going downtown to the Aug W. Smith Company’s store windows and having my father read it to us.

Years later, the diorama was restored and put on display in the local history museum. My dad visited the museum and (with permission) videoed the diorama while he read it aloud. I’ll treasure this gift always.

Record your own poem

Hold you own poetry slam. Enough said.

 Tell a story from your past

Make video clipsJust pretend your loved ones—even future loved ones—are sitting right in front of you and start your story telling. You can include visual aids (photos, tools of the trade, etc) if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary.

You don’t need a formal setting. In fact, stories told from your favorite chair provides a great welcoming backdrop.

Send a direct message to your loved ones

This is a “letter out loud.” What are the things that you want to make sure loved ones remember? What are the things that you don’t want to leave unsaid? Recording such messages can preserve the feelings of love between family members.

You can also record less momentous messages, especially for young grandchildren. If you’re packing up to go meet a new grandbaby for the first time, take a few minutes to record your activities, telling them how excited you are about their arrival. They probably won’t appreciate it for decades, but years later, it will be quite a treasure.

Record Family Occasions

Here’s where the “clip” part becomes more crucial. If you record 45 minutes of Johnny’s kindergarten graduation, people will seldom find time to watch it. If it’s a 2-minute clip featuring proud Johnny with his certificate and missing tooth in front of everyone who made the ceremony, it will be fun to look at in the future.

A Guided Tour through an Old Family Home

Going back to a family homestead? Moving out of the home in which you raised your children? Take a quick video tour of the house and rooms. (See Writing about Childhood Homes.)

By now, you have the idea and don’t need me to prompt you.  Have fun!

Apr 052013

You can’t go home. It’s not just a cliché. I’ve tried. However, going back to the geography of my roots proved to have a powerful allure all its own.

Rolling Hills of farmland

Photo Credit Wikipedia

As I drove away from Richmond and towards Prince Edward and Lunenburg counties on Monday, more than just the topography changed. As the miles progressed, years rolled away, returning me to the car rides of my childhood. As the same (or similar, I’m not really sure) roads cut through the same wooded hillsides, my senses went into full-immersion recall of countless car rides during the 60’s and 70’s. It looked the same, smelled the same, and felt the same. Continue reading »