Monday, January 8, 2018

The Perfect Present

I ran across this poster telling us that one of the best presents we can give is memories. The big gift giving season just finished but there are other times of the year that we can offer a gift to a friend or family member--Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries--to name a few. We can even give a gift for no reason at all.

Around Thanksgiving, I used a piece about November in Chicago during my growing-up years. I then shared it with a childhood friend who wrote that she enjoyed it so much as it brought back myriad memories. Writing about your memories can be the perfect present for someone you care about.

I've often suggested that we all keep a Family Memories Book. Write one story at a time and put it in the book, something like a three ring binder so that you can easily add to it. It's overwhelming if you try to write about your entire childhood, family stories and characterizations of family members all in one big piece. You'll start and give up before you get very far. 

But single out one person or one story or one specific memory to write about and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment. You can divide the notebook into sections any way you like. It might be by the age you were at the time, or relatives names, or places where you lived. Your choice.

That book will grow as you add story upon story. Consider what a treasure it will be for your children and grandchildren in the years to come. It will be one great big gift!

Besides doing one big Family Stories book, write one story or a musing about a period of life or how you felt about a friend. Make it 500 words, 1,000 or more. Again, it's your choice. Then send it as a gift to whoever can relate to it, whether friend, cousin, sibling or other family member. They will feel pretty special to have been singled out to receive something you wrote. 

Memories are gifts to ourself, as well. Have you ever sat down with a cup of coffee or tea and mused over some long ago memory? It's a pleasant pastime and one memory often triggers another. They give you story ideas. Base a fiction story on a real happening rather than creating it from scratch. 

As the poster says, memories don't need to be returned, don't take up room, have to be replaced and they fit just right. Besides all that, they never have to be dusted! 

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