Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Keeping Memories Alive

I started taking photographs when I was four, waiting for the Sunday School bus in Kentucky. The first shots I ever took were of cracks in the sidewalk and bright yellow dandelions. My mom has photographs of those precious moments. She proudly tells of how I used to get myself ready and run out to the curb to wait for that bus.

If it weren't for the art of scrapbooking, I would not have those memories to cherish. My mother kept baby albums for both of my siblings and me. She diligently kept the wrist bracelets from our births, the locks from our first haircuts, and photos of every first milestone that we ever hit. She told our story from the beginning. I have chosen to do the same for my children.

Over the years, passing our heritage on has gone from stories around the evening fire to writing on walls to writing on parchment to writing on paper. It has incorporated hand signals, drawings, paintings, and photographs. Nonetheless, we are still passing traditions and customs and beliefs down to the future generations in our families. Scrapbooking is one of the newest ways to accomplish this.

I started keeping photo albums when I was in middle school. My friends, our notes, the centerfold from Teen Beat magazine, and small tokens from my pre-teen years were embedded to the sticky glue of my three-ring binder albums. As the years went by, my collection of albums grew, until I realized that my pictures were fading faster than my memories, and I stopped putting them in.

Fast forward to 1994, when I was introduced to scrapbooking. My mother had signed up to be a Creative Memories consultant, and she introduced me to beautiful album covers and sturdy paper pages that would allow my photographs to shine. These pages were made in such a way that the color would not drain from my pictures. My photos would last as long as my memories and beyond. Journaling was a new concept. Writing captions and quotes and telling the story behind the photographs peaked this writer's interest. I was instantly hooked.

But, it wasn't just the physical aspect of scrapbooking that had my interest. It was the fact that my memories, the stories of where I came from and where I journeyed to in life, would be tangible for generations to come. My children would know for certain who their great-grandparents were. They will read pages upon pages about themselves and their childhood in future years. They would know that they are loved by many people around them. The photographs make the illustrations and speak volumes about their lives. This is why I love scrapbooking and it has become such an important part of my life.

You never know when it may be your time to lose all that you've ever lived for or for those you love to lose you. I placed a photograph of the dome in New Orleans at the top of this post as a reminder of just that. In one moment of time, all was washed away... The memories only last as long as the person, unless they are well-documented in some way. I don't want my photographs to become like so many black and whites I have seen sitting in boxes on dusty shelves. I don't want my family members to become someone's "borrowed family" hanging unmarked upon foreign walls. I want my family to live on forever. So, I scrapbook...

Let me know what scrapbooking means to you! If you would like to write a feature for my blog about this topic, please comment below and leave me a method of contact. I look forward to hearing from you!

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