Thursday, April 15, 1999    


Scrapbooking Gives Us Roots

By:Cara S.

I don't know why Scrapbooking is so important to me, why it has permeated my life as it has. I suspect it is because it has given me roots.

You see, I grew up in the Army. As a child I never lived anywhere longer than 3 yrs. I have never had a hometown, or a specific house where I grew up, a place to come "home" to and feel like I belong. We only saw extended family during the two weeks my father had off every year, when we would load up the car and drive non-stop to as many relative's houses as we could reach in a two week time period. I never really got to know any of my extended family very well, in spite of my parents efforts.

The best part of this was that my immediate family got really close. When we moved to a new place, especially in the summer months, my brother and sister were my only friends and playmates. I always had a hard time getting too close to the other kids anyway, because their father was in the Army also, and you never knew when their father, or your father, would come home and say "We are moving in two weeks". I don't have the friends "that I have known since the second grade".

Since then, I have grown up, gotten married, and have had children of my own. I am appreciative of the way I was raised. No one will ever accuse me of being shy, I can talk to anyone about practically any subject. I learned early to adapt to new situations easily, which has come in handy, since my husband is in the oilfield. This means that we move around a lot also! Pretty ironic, but, I secretly love it, each new move is a new challenge.

My four year old son has now moved twice in his short little life. But, unlike me, these changes are documented fully for him to look back on, and remember where he came from. What was going on in his life, who his friends were, neighbors, teachers. Who was that little boy who lived down the street when he was 2 1/2, and was his best friend?? Who was my friend in Georgia, when I was six, who would safety pin her towel around her neck, put a playing card in the spokes of her bike, and go riding with me as our capes fluttered behind us?? Unfortunately, I will never know, but my sons will.

I have not scrapbooked my childhood yet. That project will come to pass, though, in the near future. I will grab as many memories as I can from my family to add to my history. But a lot of my history is already lost to me, and my children. I don't want that for my sons.

It used to be that you grew up in the same house, on the same street, with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, living on that same street. But our society is much more transient now. We no longer have the extended family gathering at one house, and telling stories of the family over and over again. We no longer learn about where we came from sitting at Grandpa's knee, while he tells his stories, which we then repeat to the next generation.

This is how I see scrapbooking, why I think it is important, and how it changed my life. It will give me roots when my time comes to write it all down, but more importantly, it has already started to give my sons their roots. I can't think of a better tribute a mother can give her children, the gift of their place in this world.

My sons are going to have the same upbringing that I did, which I wouldn't change for the world. But theirs will be different in one way. They will not have to rely on hazy childhood memories to remember where they have been, and where they are going, because their roots will be right there on the shelf. Their ancestors, their childhood, what makes them who they are. All they will have to do is take those precious memories off the shelf, open them up, and set them free.

Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: Scrapbooking...More Than Preserving Memories!, by Karri D

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