Monday, May 5, 2008

Scrapbooking Ourselves

Continuing our string of wonderful guest bloggers, here's one from Nicole P.

By Guest Blogger Nicole P.

My grandmother bought my first scrapbook for me back in 1980. It was a non-archival safe scrapbook, the standard of that time period. Basically it was a big blank empty book with construction paper-type pages, and we would….gasp…tape our memorabilia inside.
To this day, I have my first scrapbook. It is filled with Cabbage Patch Doll Birth certificates, greeting cards and letters from friends and family, school attendance certificates, tickets stubs, post cards, newspaper and magazine clippings, a 5th grade state capitol test that I got 100% on, and every single item is yellowed and worn. This scrapbook is one of my most cherished possessions and not because of all the “stuff” that I taped to the pages, but because it has a sample of my grandmother’s handwriting inside of the front cover. She signed and dated the scrapbook before she gave it to me. My grandmother died in 1988. This book and a few photographs are the only material possessions that I have to remember her.
When I think of all the special memories that I have of my grandmother, I know that I would do anything to have something tangible to keep those memories alive.
My Grandmother loved gardening. She has the most beautifully landscaped yard full of flowers, tree, and bushes. What I wouldn’t give to have photographs of her in her home and in her gardens as well as journaling in her handwriting telling her life story.
I spent many years of my life hiding behind my camera, taking photos of my loved ones and documenting every event of their lives in my scrapbooks. It dawned on me one day that although my children will probably (hopefully) love looking at the scrapbook pages that I made of their childhoods, they will have their own memories of these events. But will they remember what my life was like? Will they remember my favorite food? Will they remember the things that I loved? Will they remember what my handwriting looked like? The answer is more than likely no.
So I have made a vow to myself to get myself in front of that camera more often. I need to stop worrying about those extra 40 pounds that I carry around. I need to stop worrying if I remembered to apply concealer and if my freckles are showing. I need to stop worrying altogether and put myself in the books, so that my children and grandchildren will have a piece of me when I am gone.
So, I challenge all of you who are reading this, whether you are a scrapbooker or not, to record your life in one way or another. Share the things that you are passionate about with your future generations.


Anonymous said...

Great article Nicole. Really makes you think about why we need to includes ourselves in our scrapbooks :)

Kathryn Lilley said...

We're not scrapbookers in my family, but we are compulsive collectors and loggers. Both my mom and my dad are writing separate memoirs. My dad's is closer to being finished. My idea is that when he's done, I'll add a new "Part" for the next generation, and then pass it down to my daughter, who is his only granddaughter. With any luck, we'll keep the family story going for generations. I'm so excited about this! Great post, Nicole!

Cali said...

Amen. Plus, I don't know about the rest of you, but if I don't put me in an album, no one will. I can't afford to be overly modest or unselfish or I may just be forgotten.

Stacy said...

Great job Nicole and congrats on being a guest blogger. I need to get all of my kid scrapbooks out and go down memory lane.

Camille Minichino said...

Your blog works on so many levels, Nicole -- the idea of putting ourselves on the list we keep of people who are important.

Maybe Our Blogs Are Us!

Ilana said...

I've had that same thought about not being in front of the camera often enough. My husband and I are always taking photos of the boys, but rarely of each other. If we're in them, we're being photographed due to our proximity to the boys.

You're right, I need to stop worrying about how I look and start being in more of the photos.

Melanie & Johnny & Marlia said...

I completely agree. I made it my New Year's Resolution in '07 to not shy away from being in pictures... otherwise it will look like my daughter was raised by a single dad!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

When I finished The Best of British Scrapbooking, I sent my color proofing copy to one of the winners, Sarah Wheatley. Sarah was losing her fight against breast cancer. She read the copy, saw her layouts, looked at it again the next day, the following day she slept and then died. Her husband sent an email to me and all the UK women saying that Sarah left behind a wealth of pages about her family...but what they would miss, forever, were pages about Sarah. He begged all of us to include ourselves.

Jennifer H said...

Great post, Nicole. I hide behind the camera, too. Or, if I am in a photo, I stand behind my children (those pesky pounds). But I had never thought of this the way you just stated. They need photos of their mother, too.

PattiM said...

Very well done, Nicole... And I agree, so true...I look back at our scrapbooks from 2002 when my grandson was born and I'm in the photo's the least... Hardly any show me holding him....playing with him.... And I did alot in the beginning... So, even though I don't like my weight, I've put myself in front of the camera more....

Patti M
(Pattie's passion)

I Scrap So All Moments Are Remembered!!!!

Nicole P said...

Thank you Joanna for asking me to be your guest blogger again. I enjoyed it very much!
I am glad that so many of you could relate to this article!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


I wrote an article years ago that appeared in Creating Keepsakes magazine which was probably the first to advocate scrapbooking ourselves. I told of my friend who had breast cancer and how I urged her to scrapbook herself to leave behind for her young son. The article was called Leaving a Legacy and I really should put it on my website as it was the first to advocate scrapbooking something other than our family holidays and children's birthday parties. It had tremendous response and shortly afterwards I was contacted by Angie Pedersen looking for a publisher for what became her "Book of Me." I hooked her up with my publisher and that's how she got published.'re preaching to the choir director! But...your post is a timely reminder because most of us don't work hard enough to keep ourselves in front of the camera. I know I don't.