Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Why Scrapbooking is Important

When I was young I lived on a street named Steuben Avenue in a place called Urbandale, part of Battle Creek, Michigan.  Our street was small with just five houses.  The people at one end were quite old so of no interest to the children in the neighborhood, in fact I couldn't even tell you their names.  The other four houses were our neighbors, The Campbells, the Dawes, the Thielmans and the Wilsons, my family.  Across the street was a huge field with an enormous hill that we used for sledding, fort making and hiding out from our parents.  

Those were the days before cellphones and computers when you actually knew your neighbors and spent the entire day outside coming home only to eat and possibly go to the bathroom (although a lot of times we just use the field or our friends' bathrooms).  We played football in our front yard in the fall and baseball in the backyard during the summer. We rode our bikes down to the local Catholic church to use their basketball hoops in the winter, and then, of course, we filled in with kickball, kick the can, and hide and go seek in between.  

Tim and Terry, and their sister, Chris lived to the left of our house.  The boys were my constant sports companions and I always appreciated the fact that they let my sister and myself be the only girls on the field -- back when girls in sports wasn't really a thing.  They were just a bit younger than me, a year for Tim and maybe two for Terry.  Chris was older and into working on her suntan with Maureen Campbell.  Every day they'd lay out in the sun on their back porch getting more golden each day of the summer.  Even after almost 40 years I still remember what their backyard looked like.  Their dad was meticulous in the care of his lawn.  It was always perfect and he and the kids were always working on it.  

His name was Larry.

Today I'll be attending his funeral. I'm 56 and I haven't seen those neighborhood kids in 38 years. I live over an hour away from Battle Creek now and I debated whether I would go to the funeral and almost decided not to attend but then I realized that this would be the only time, for the rest of my life, that I would get a chance to see these "kids" again. This was not a moment to miss and even though it will be a sad day, it will be good to see these childhood friends.
The past is important. You are who you are because of the people you spent time with and the experiences you had. It's important that we don't take our past for granted and more important that we don't forget it. As scrapbookers it's our job to preserve our history. Our hobby is a gift, a gift to ourselves and to others because in this selfie Instagram world, pictures are being taken but not developed, not kept. It's up to us to protect those memories. The memories I shared above could be easily lost with my rapidly aging memory.
But not if I scrapbook them.
Each time you take out your adhesive, your favorite pattern paper and your journaling pen, you are protecting history from disappearing from your memory and sharing it with future generations so that they know not only their own past but yours too. With pictures or without, record your history. Make it pretty or don't, but get it down on your pages. Just like I know I would regret not going today, I know that you will regret not having your stories recorded. Memories fade but scrapbooks are forever.

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