Memories, Parenting, Sharing Stories

Stories Impart Value

Memories impart value. (See Here.) Recently, I pondered how stories are secondhand memories, and therefore, also impart value.

When my uncle showed me his train set, he told how he had constructed certain components—including failed attempts. Certain cars and scenes represented events in his life. The hobby also provided a distraction when he was depressed. His stories drove me to find appreciative new owners after he passed.

My uncle’s passion

Many of my uncle’s possessions, which I inherited, had neither memories nor stories. Who used the antique butter churn? What was the origin of the cast iron coffee table?  My brother recognized the cast iron cobbler’s stands and shoe forms as residing on my grandparents’ hearth before their death, but who used them?

With limited time and space, memories—both firsthand and secondhand—drove decisions. Based on my brother’s recognition, the cobbler stands made the trip to my home. Later research showed that my great-great-grandfather was a shoemaker.

Along the way, I learned I must tell others my stories about heirlooms. And ask for stories so I can make better decisions in the future. *

Are you curious about an heirloom?

*I’m perusing The Stories We Leave Behind by Laura Gilbert.

Family, Memories

Memories Impart Value

Along the way, I learned that memories impart value.

My uncle bequeathed me the contents of his home. As I packed china and depression glass and debated shipping furniture, my brother held out an item.

Is this the M&Ms dish?

“Yes,” I said without hesitation. I remembered its place by my grandfather’s recliner and the forbiddeness of snitching a chocolate morsel.

My brother remembered the too-loud clank of the glass lid when he was naughtier or perhaps braver than me.

I carefully packed the M&Ms dish, and later cried when another tried to claim it.

Look what I found.

This time my brother held out Rook cards, the same vintage as my parents’ cards.

The colored numbers brought back images of my parents playing Rook with their friends. Once, I got in trouble for peeking over shoulders and announcing a player’s hand. I felt like an adult when I was old enough to play Rook with my siblings.

My brother happily packed the Rook cards.

What made two objects—costing less than $20 each—priceless? The memories.

I wonder which objects my boys will eventually claim. (See Their Memories, Not Yours Here.)

Do any objects invoke your childhood memories??

Book Recommendations, Homeschooling, Memories, Parenting

Memory: Prime 1 and Prime 2

When I play a concentration game, why I do I remember the first card I turn over? Always.

Why does the first day of vacation stand out from the rest? Why do I remember my first child’s milestones better than his siblings? Or my first vegetable garden when I was newly married?

I learned the answer after my boys were in college. I discovered Summarization in Any Subject: 50 Techniques to Improve Student Learning by Rick Wormeli. 

Research proves that we remember best what we experience first, and we remember second best what we experience last—also known as Prime 1 and Prime 2. That is why pastors, teachers, and motivational speakers begin and end with memorable scripture passages or examples.

Along the way, I should have started and ended lessons with my major points. Even more, now I should begin and end my day with what is most important.

What is your Prime 1 and Prime 2?

Memories, Parenting, Photos

Picture of the Day

Are you considering new habits for the New Year? Along the way, I learned that regular habits sometimes—well, usually—disintegrated into irregular ones. I also learned that irregular habits can still be valuable.

When my middle son went to college, his younger brother urged him to take a Picture of the Day, POTD, and email it to the family. I thought POTD was our family’s acronym, not commonly used for Poll of the Day and, more accurately, Photo of the Day.

My middle son daily emailed a POTD the first two weeks, and then sporadically the rest of his college years.  

A Junior Year POTD

My youngest took POTD seriously his freshman year. POTDs dropped off during his sophomore year. Junior year was more accurately Picture of the Week—although still labeled POTD.  Senior year became Picture of the Month.

A Freshman Year POTD

Fifteen years later, my husband and I still have the thrill of receiving emails and texts with POTD in the subject line. The frequency and regularity have decreased, but the habit continues, keeping our family connected—and sometimes amused—over hundreds of miles.

Has an irregular habit benefited you? Perhaps, kept you connected?

Memories, Parenting

Illustrations Matter

In Picture Book Revelations, I told how I vividly remembered the illustrations in Daddy’s Birthday Cakes. (See here.) I didn’t say it was approximately sixty years after I last saw that book. Therefore, why was I surprised when a son recalled illustrations from picture books I read to him thirty years ago?

As we reminisced during last night’s phone conversation, my youngest described three favorite picture books by their illustrations, not their plots: the book with the boy and his flashlight, the book with the boy wearing a blue sweater, the book with elaborately dressed animals riding in a carriage.

I pulled the described books from my bookshelves while my son searched for the covers online to confirm my guesses.

A flashlight is necessary for a successful sleep out.
Titch wore the same blue sweater during all his adventures
Piggins’ acquaintances rode in carriages. He solved mysteries.

Why did I recall all three titles within seconds?

What we see with our eyes matters. Regardless of the style, illustrations have a lasting impact—even more than I realized until an unexpected conversation with one son.

What do you visualize from your childhood?