Posts Tagged 'Family History'

Are You A Story Collector?

I am a collector. But no one would ever call me a pack-rat. I don’t have hoarding tendencies either. In fact, I am apparently of the “less is more” mindset as we frequently ran out of basic supplies like milk and toilet paper when our kids were young. “Why commit my cash to something I didn’t need yet” was sort of my slogan.

I tried collections when I was younger. Stamps for one. Never took. I guess you might say I collect blue and white dishes because I have a lot but that’s because I use them all the time. I wouldn’t “collect” just for the sake of “collecting.”

What I do collect are Stories.

Everyone has one. My compilation includes my story, tales from my immediate family, as well as the histories of relatives and ancestors. Sometimes scraps, sometimes a rich narrative.

In my collection are also portions of friend’s stories. Past and present. Besides the stories I keep in my heart, I have a cache of artifacts, probably thousands. Photographs, cards and letters collected over a lifetime. Then there is my account. A lovely hole to fall in when I have a free hour. Definitely more satisfying than an evening of TV.

I am slowly cataloging my collection. Sometimes mine, sometimes gathering pieces that belong to others. It feels like a mandate that I cannot ignore. Or something like a treasure hunt.

Chasing the Intentional Life includes leaving a legacy for those to come. “One generation to the next.”

Are you a story collector?

Hope for the best,


On This Day in YOUR History, part 2

April 15 is a familiar day to anyone who has ever paid taxes but a more delightful event took place on that date when our dear friends hosted a 100th birthday party for Tom and me.  We both turned 50 that year.  Also on April 15 in various years… one of our children was baptized, we attended a sunrise service, we had dinner in Maui, and enjoyed the musical, Rent.

If you are just jumping in today, check out the previous post about how to set up a simple filing system for keeping track of what happened in YOUR history each day.

Once you have established the dates of family milestones on the 3 X 5 cards or digital files, start digging through old calendars, date books, journals.  Credit card statements can help too for vacation/special event dates.

Browsing medical records proved helpful for remembering which month and year they all had chicken pox, broke bones, and visited the ER.  Vet reports also reminded me when we began and ended our dog-owning seasons of life.

Looking through photos helped fill in some details of the new swing set, the first salsa making, and first haircuts.  Sometimes when the exact date isn’t known, targeting the season and year is good enough.

At first our Family Almanac seemed so meager but year by year it continues to fill in.  Each month still has a couple of blank days when nothing eventful has yet to happen but so goes the story of anyone’s life.

While the kids were still at home, we read the Almanac most nights after dinner to remember, to laugh, to enjoy our common history.  I spoke about the idea at workshops and wrote about it for Family Fun magazine.

Family dinners rarely take place at our table anymore and for a while I didn’t know what to do with the box full of memories.  When one of my daughters asked, “whatever happened to the Family Almanac?” I was ready to redesign the tradition in a way that fit who we are now.  Email!

Every Monday night I send a round-up of This day in OUR History for the upcoming week along with any family updates. Sometimes it generates a lot of feedback and back and forth comments, other weeks there is no response.

The little box of 3 X 5  cards is kind of fossil record of the moments that have shaped, molded and defined who we are as a family.   Hopefully the ink won’t fade or I will digitize it all someday so it will be ready for the next generation.

So many stories in such a little place.

c. Letitia Suk 2012

How do you keep track of your stories?

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