Journal    Your    Memories

Journaling is as important an element in your scrapbooks as your photos. Despite this many people neglect their journaling. They might remember to include names and dates, but not the story behind the photos.

The minimum journaling should be names, dates, ages and location. Besides that include other information such as what you did that day. I'm thinking of my friend's photos of her children dressed up for Easter. The story behind the pictures was that afterward the family went out to eat at a local restaurant. One of the children, who was maybe 13 at the time, decided she didn't want to go to the restaurant. After an argument her father let her walk home and wait for them. That is a story the photos did not tell.

Interview family members. Ask about their favorites such as foods, sports, friends, and memories. Your older relatives were once young. What do you really know about them and their struggles? Ask and write down their stories. Do the same with your own goals and aspirations.

Create a family tree page. It doesn't have to be one of those fussy genealogical ones. I created one from a designer paper with a tree on it. I found old photos of family members in my husband's family. I scanned the photos and enlarged the face portions. I put those on the tree starting with my husband's parents and then their two sons, and then wives, and children.

What about your home? Was it a house? An apartment? Did you live in one place a long time? Did you move around a lot? Did you like where you lived? Do you have a favorite place?

If your home has been remodeled over the years include photos that show the changes. Share stories about your friends and neighbors and other relatives sho came to your home. It you know the story of how your home was purchased include that information.

Don't forget yourself. Record your own history in the making. When my husband and I first moved to Connecticut we didn't drive. We got around town on our bikes. That is something interesting about our early life that I doubt my son knows about. Eventually we did get a car. My husband and I bought a VW BUG. We paid too much for it. My husband had his driver's license by then but didn't know stick shift. We made some new friends who helped him learn how to drive the shift. That little car took us all over and even on vacation to Maine.

Are you a mother? Write about your pregnancy and the day your child was born. I'm sure my son would be surprised to learn I had him by Lamaze and was physically fit. (As opposed to what I am now which is overweight.) I remember taking our son to our VW bug and asking my husband, "What do we do with him now?" We had plenty of prelabor planning and practice but not how to care for our son afterwards. I didn't even know how to do a diaper.

Write about family traditions. Did your family spend all the holidays together or were you separated by the miles? How did you feel if you couldn't be with your family?

What did you do everyday in your life not just on special occasions. For instance, my husband and I biked to work most of our first year in Connecticut. On cold and rainy days we walked. Sometimes we got a ride with a new friend. It was very difficult for us until my husband got his driver's license and we bought a car.

What church did you belong to? What hobbies did you have? What were your dreams and hopes for the future? These things define much of who you are.

Write about the happy times, the sad times, and the funny times as well. It is all part of your life and will be something your future generations treasure. They will get a glimpse into what made you the unique person you are. They will see the foundation on which their own lives are built. They will gain strength from your successes and sympathize with your failures.

Other things you can include in your book include potry, songs, quotes, saying. They don't have to be original but can be from other sources. Choose the words that are meaningful to you.

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