Tuesday, March 16, 1999    


A Way to Celebrate

By:Stephanie H

I began scrapbooking a little over a year ago. I have always been creative and even had several photo albums filled with pictures and memorabilia from my high school and college years. As with my other creative hobbies, I though this would be one that I would do when I had time and put away when I had other things to do. Little did I know that scrapbooking would help me mourn a loss and celebrate a joy, all within the same year and become the most important thing I have ever done.

In February 1998, my grandfather died very suddenly. My family's loss was compounded by the fact that my sister was pregnant with the first great-grandchild.

My grandfather was a very outgoing man but spoke almost nothing about his hard life growing up and the years when he served his country in WWII. We knew that he was raised during the depression and went to war as a sense of duty. We also knew that he lived in the present and believed that you shouldn't talk about the past, lest you repeat it. However, during the last two years of his life, he gradually began to tell different family members stories of his early years and his time spent defending his country. I assumed that at the appropraite time, we would be able to convince him to write his stories down. Unfortuneatly, that time never came.

After my grandfather's death, the family sat down and began to compare stories. With everyone bringing the stories they had been told, we were able to assemble enough facts to begin researching his life. The researching is still underway, being done mostly by my father. As he finds information and pictures, he gives me a copy and I am making my first Heritage Album. I continue to laugh and cry through this project. I am getting to know my grandfather better than I did when he was alive. Not something I wished had happened but it has been a healing process and I think he would be happy to know that the family is learning "his story", even if he couldn't tell us.

During the same time, my sister gave birth to the first great grandchild. My nephew is the love of my life and I am working on an album documenting his first year. Since I live 300 miles away, visits are infrequent, so my sister sends me duplicates of the pictures she takes. This way, I get to see how he is growing and experience his life. While this album has been fun to create, my hope is that the documentation of his life is preserved. I saw, from my grandfather, what happens when your family wants to know about your early life and the stories can't be told. I want to make sure that this pattern is not repeated and future generations can know the stories of not only my grandfather but ofthe legacy that is his family.

Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: Untitled, by Renee R.

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