Bill’s family recently moved and he handed some boxes to a boy who was helping out. They contained pictures and writings from his sons’ childhood. A handwritten Christmas poem, the drawing of Pandora and her troubles, the Christmas ornaments too delicate now to put on the tree, the book report on “Tanglewood Tales.”
There were favorite books too –”Benny Bakes A Cake” and “Goodnight Moon”, and a few misplaced photographs in Halloween costumes their mother had made that had lost themselves on the way to an album.
Bill heard the teen say softly, “I wish my mom had saved some of my old school projects.”
Bill was astonished. His family had always done that – captured memories.
For Tom, it was a garage sale that brought back treasured memories – Sunday school projects, school awards, old cassette audio tapes. (What are those?)
“Here’s that food-pyramid chart from 3rd grade. That was about the time she broke her tooth.”
“Remember this old hat? She wore it with that fake moustache when she went trick-or-treating.”
“Here’s her little white Bible. She got that when she started Vacation Bible School when we lived in Kansas.”
While the monetary value in many of those items is zero, the intrinsic value is priceless.
A child’s school project from the 1st grade, a faded drawing, worn doll or broken toy leads to connective memories of a family picnic, a vacation, trip to the zoo, the new bicycle or car, an open house at school, the new playmate who moved in next door, the broken arm or tonsillectomy—maybe even the new baby brother or sister. Those re-discoveries are open doors to entire chunks of family history!
Memories inform our children’s sense of themselves. All of us have them. Some are saved in boxes like Bill’s, some are in our minds as we look back. Others are in neatly organized albums with careful notes about who, what, where, and when. Still others are loose in a box under the bed.
Think about the memories you’ve formed together. Try to capture these important reflections of life, relationships, and feelings. Freeze the picture for a moment, take in the significance of an event, remember the faces, and hold the words and images in your mind.
Getting It Done
Start now by taking school projects, photos, drawings, or whatever and pulling them together into a collection. If you don’t have much, start with what you have. If you don’t have anything, start making something together. Write a story, make an invention, cook a meal, try an experiment, take some photos.
If we’ve learned one thing, it is that time moves swiftly. As Helen Hayes, the American actress, said, “Childhood is a short season.”
We’ve all poked our heads and hands inside closets and boxes and recovered those irreplaceable treasures that trigger laughter and tears. Make some memories together. And think twice before you toss out those old items that “clutter” your lives. Some of that clutter just may rekindle cherished memories for every member of your family.