Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Great Gift Idea - A Memory Book

When I was about ten years old or so and living in Seattle, my cousin Krissy came up with the brillant idea of making my Auntie Bub (her real name is Elizabeth, but family called her Bub for some reason) a memory book for her upcoming birthday.  It was going to be her 85th birthday - and we wanted to give her a gift that she would really appreciate.

What my cousin Krissy did was have family and friends write fond memories and give pictures that would all go in the book.  Every was more than happy to participate, some people taking up more than a page.

I remember one family friend, Rosalie, wrote a beautiful letter talking about their friendship over the years.  She included pictures from their early childhood, all the way up to the present.  It was a way to watch them grow - while still remaining great friends.  She even included a peice of the skirt that my Auntie Bub wore on her first date.

But it wasn't just family and friends that wrote in - as word spread around Seattle, where my Auntie Bub is rather well known for being an extremely loyal customer and avid volunteer in the community, more people wanted to participate.  Soon, the guy at the Doughnut shop that she went to every Thursday was contributing to the book.  And then nurse at the nursing home that my Aunt often visited, just to keep complete strangers company, began to ask if she could contribute.  Then it was the workers at the Seattle Science Center, where not only my Auntie Bub volunteered, but my blind Auntie Shirley volunteered also.

Needless to say, the book caught on, and even after her birthday party people were asking if they could contribute.  When my aunt saw it, her eyes welled up.  She didn't put that book down the entire party, and was sitting there reading different entries and talking about her life in between readings.

This was a gift that will last a lifetime.  It still remains on my Auntie Bub's side table in her bedroom.  It includes valuable information about her life - things that you just can't get off a census or marriage record.  It includes pictures and other small objects that help to represent her life, and the love that she has put into the lives of others.

If you have a loved one with a birthday coming up, I highly suggest that you use this gift idea to make their year.  While it does take some work and careful planning, it is well worth it.  The end result is something that will be cherished for years and possibly generations to come.


DianaR said...

Great idea Elyse ~ and it doesn't even have to be for a big milestone birthday! My sister recently did something on a smaller scale for her daughter who left for college last week.

She got one of those picture "album" type-things that are on a stand and you can flip through the pictures. She put a picture of the kids they were very young in the front and a current one of them in the back. Then she had all sorts of pretty paper cut up 4x6 and we had to pick 2 and write a memory we had with my niece and something we loved about her.

It was a wonderful time - most of us cried at some point in the evening :-)

As you say, it's those memories that you can't find in any public records.