Feb 232016
Misrepresenting the past and preventing myths

How do keep those myths at bay? How do you avoid misrepresenting the past?

How do we avoid or minimize the risk of  misrepresenting the past as we tell our own and family stories? What exactly is our burden of due diligence when it comes to determining the accuracy of our narratives?

This isn’t my normal soap box about truth versus accuracy. Or at least not entirely. The truth of our experience often comes down to our unique memory of it. Our memory is our truth whether or not a sibling thinks it was a Pepsi and not a Coke. We’re not talking about that type of accuracy.

Can we avoid misrepresenting the past?

Continue reading »

Dec 032013
Voices from the past on the phone

Wouldn’t it be great if my sister could still hear our grandparents’ voices?

Voices from the past can tug at our heartstrings like nothing else, especially if the voice belongs to a loved one. When we hear voices from the past, our recall is vivid and emotional. The voices take us back.

However, recording our voices can do more than spark recall. Hearing a voice from a relative you never knew can also forge a strong—even spiritual—connection.

In an article for Inside Magazine, Gail Snyder wrote about the priceless gift she received: a short 78 RPM recording of her uncle.

“… Uncle Yosh had inadvertently given me — a niece who did not even exist when he was killed by a Japanese sniper on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines in the waning months of World War II — a priceless gift: the chance to hear the timbre of his voice, glimpse the youthful exuberance it held and experience firsthand his impish sense of humor.” Continue reading »

Jul 062013

A Five Minute Friday Meditation: Beautiful

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker, founder of “Five Minute Friday,” broadcasts a writing prompt, challenging writers to writer for five minutes only. In her words, “It’s not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.

This is a great writing exercise even if you’re not blogging your treasures (memories). Your spontaneous thoughts on a given subject can reveal your personality, daily life, beliefs, etc. If you are blogging, I encourage you to join in! If you want to connect on Twitter, use the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.

This week’s prompt: Beautiful

Do you see a beautiful reflectionsBeautiful Reflection

When I look in a mirror, beautiful is the last word that comes to mind. But then, I don’t look in the mirror to see if I’m beautiful. I look in the mirror to gauge how bad the imperfections look today. My mind is closed to a beautiful reflection. Continue reading »

Jun 212013

Scrapbook little traditions When we think about traditions, we think about the big ones, like holidays and family reunions.  Listening to 8 Years Lost,” Paperclipping.com’s Round Table interview with Jackie Wood, I was struck by her yearning to remember the everyday routines and the little traditions. (Read Jackie’s Guest Post Eight Years of Memories Lost. ) Continue reading »

Feb 202013
Family roots

Roots: hidden, fragile, tangled, and often more than just a little bit dirty.

It was only after I stumbled over some of them that I started paying attention to my family roots. Now I spend a lot of my time looking for more of them.

My family tree looks nothing like the iconic oak with its rounded top and balanced, far-reaching branches.  One side is all filled out and well-rounded. We have information on our ancestors going back to about 1500.The other side is largely missing. “Roots” seems more applicable—hidden, fragile, tangled, and often more than just a little bit dirty. On my father’s side of the tree, we had precious little information, owing not the least to the fact that our grandmother was an orphan. Or so she claimed.

Its silhouette looks more like a willow that loses limbs in every storm than the archetypal oak.  The opposite was true of my mother’s side of the family;

For the intact, maternal side of our tree, my sister and I had two great sources of information. One was our amazing Aunt Ann and her thirty plus years of pre-internet genealogical research. The other was our grandmother’s Treasure Chest of Memories.

My Grandmother’s Treasure Chest of Memories:

Treasure Chest of Memories author Hazel Crymes

My grandmother with my cousin Harry circa 1983.

Written in a script illegible to all but my mother, her Treasure Chest of Memories was an old spiral notebook filled with a lifetime of her writings. Her entries ranged from humorous anecdotes to highly personal ruminations, good recipes, and wisdom she had gathered along the way.

As she approached the end stage of her breast cancer, Grandma decided to pass her Treasure Chest on to the next generation(s). My cousin Harry swore on all of our behalves that it would never be published, rather be kept only in the family. My mother painstakingly transcribed Grandma’s handwriting and presented each of her siblings and every grandchild with a folder of typed writings—our own copy of Grandma’s Treasure Chest.

A treasure it is! Grandma died in 1983, the year I graduated from college. I was not able to enjoy a woman-to-woman relationship with her in life, but through her memories, I connect with her, again and again, throughout the differing phases of my life.

In honor of my grandmother, Hazel Savoy Crymes, I hope to provide resources and inspiration to others, so that they, too, can  create a treasure of incalculable value for the ones they love.

Make your own Treasure Chest of Memories

Go ahead.  Share your treasures!