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Family archiving – your book of remembrance on Thanksgiving

Relative to upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday – life outside of the proposal box.

Family archiving – your book of remembrance on Thanksgiving
by Donna L. Quesinberry, National Writing Examiner

Your work of art via a Book of Remembrance or Family Archive

Thanksgiving has an appeal that is truly second to none as far as holidays go. Whether it is due to the food, the concept of a warm and familial union that doesn’t require gift giving, or that it seems to advent the winter – it is a special holiday. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays where we are able to leave work early on Thanksgiving Eve (for lack of a better term) to shop for last minute supplies and we are allowed to take the Friday off that follows the third Thursday in November to recover from so much fun.

Originally, T-Day signified union of early settlers to the United States of America and their association with the American Indian. The Pilgrims and the Indians gathered to share their culture and concepts of life and living in a sense of community and familial bonding. And, as their gathering consisted of thanks for the fact that they had crops that would sustain them through the winter and a unity of community and concept, we can be equally thankful today that they elected to mark a day to share home and hearth – just to do so – just because it is good.

Most families have traditions for their Thanksgiving gathering. It may include Baba Miere’ Miere’s plum pudding, or Oma’s sweet potato marshmallow melt, or Nanny’s funeral jello (gotten from another gathering and coined ‘funeral jello’), or Aunt Elaine’s turkey, or her momma’s pecan pie. The television may be playing a football game and Macy’s Day Parade may have aired as the turkey was trussed. Aromas may loft from every corner of the house where you are attending. And, no matter what room you enter – you may find another family member or friend you haven’t gotten to sit and ‘talk’ with in forever between work, the gym, church, social functions, conferences, after work gatherings, activities, classes, etc. – it is a good day to just breathe.

It is also an excellent day to carry along your Book of Remembrance. That archival history book that is brimming with family lore. In an hour when so much of our memories are associated with Facebook or MySpace for our picture exchanges and information sharing – it is perhaps a refreshing investment to engage the family and our friends in developing or continuing to develop a personal record of significance.

We can create a Book of Remembrance from scratch – with a 3 ring binder and personalized art or we can go as far as to lay out a Ben Franklin or two for a leather bound investment – both are going to be equally appreciated in the years to come. The best bet is to determine what you want to include in your record – your archive – your personal account. Beyond the quick snapshots we take with the digital camera and the video we can throw on YouTube – our more personal accounts can be penned and conveyed for years to come in these family gems.

Asking an elderly family member that hasn’t much time left to share, to jot even a few words, will deliver a message to your grandchildren that 100 digitized photos will never convey. Allowing the toddler who is still navigating a crayon to draw what they see – is priceless in their future. Giving that niece or nephew who sits in that quiet hour of teenage wonderment seemingly aloof from the goings on’s a chance to share a lyric or haiku – may be that touch of union they desperately seek in the here and now. Making notes for “what we’d like to do next year” and than having that record will lend the tribe a sense of direction and by their own volition.

A Book of Remembrance at this time of season is that great place to carry your personal archive forward or to begin the process of record for your family – whether your family is traditional, alternative, new age, old school, at a Parish or community center – even if it changes from year to year – your archive can be that thread of continuation in any setting. The Book of Remembrance ties the past to the present and prepares for the future and can involve numerous volumes over a lifetime. It can be as encompassing or as lighthearted as you are. Most of all, Thanksgiving gatherings are the perfect opportunity to make it a rich and vibrant work of art.

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

An upcoming article will provide the semantics of creating a Book of Remembrance with detailed information and instructions as well as links for purchasing relative products. Additionally, home remedies and ideas that are also time and money-saving.

The National Writing Examiner welcomes questions, ideas and interviews or event announcements – through the comments section below, or by e-mailing Donna Quesinberry.


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This day in history:

On this day in 1889, DeWitt Wallace is born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to a minister and his wife.

After high school, Wallace worked in a bank and began keeping an index-card file of his favorite magazine articles. He later attended the University of California at Berkeley. While visiting friends in Oregon, he met his future wife, Lila Bell Acheson, also the child of a minister.

After condensing some government pamphlets into booklets, Wallace became convinced he could create a popular periodical by condensing other readings, but his plan was interrupted by World War I. He joined the Army and was wounded. While recovering, he began to explore his idea, assembling a sample issue and sending it to publishers, who consistently rejected the idea.

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Amanda Blount

I love scrapbooking, and anytime I can put notes down, and phtotos with those notes, I feel I am writing our family’s history book. It is very important to me to keep the little tid bits of life for the grandchildren to see. Plus, it is fun. This is a great idea. I think calling it the Book of Remembrance on such a happy day can be a little sad, so I like to get people to add coments to my scrapbook. OR the fun thing to do at a huge event, make a pretty box and put pretty slips of paper near it. make the rules on the front of the box. NAME, date, and age of person and add in other things. Have them write whatever they are thinking that very moment. They then fold it and put it in the box. LOL It is so funny to read them when no one is around!!!