Thursday, May 13, 1999    

 

The Bigger Picture

By:kbt

As an only child without a baby book, scrapping has given me a new model to follow for preserving our family's story. My children will spend more than five minutes sifting through a few photos stuck into an envelope tucked in the cedar chest, as I did. Not only do I give them a sense of their history, I hope I'm instilling in them the importance of continuing it for their children. One of the events I've chronicled in our album continues to have a profound effect on our family, our friendships and our community.

Last April when tornadoes ripped through Alabama, inspiring headlines nationwide, those same tornadoes also devastated our small town of Dunwoody, a suburb of Atlanta. My family was truly blessed to be within one-half mile of total devastation yet to have suffered no property damage, but many of our friends were not so lucky, and several still have not been able to return to their homes.

The immediate need for help was great; now the physical damage is being repaired yet emotional scars remain.

Approaching the one-year anniversary, however, the "Replant the Dunwoody Forest" effort is in full-swing, and plans are underway for an ecumenical prayer service to commemorate the miracle of having only one death and the even-deeper sense of community that's grown here since April 9, 1998.

Throughout it all I've felt helpless, as if nothing I could do was quite enough to make up for everything my friends are going through . . . especially since we got so lucky. Over and over, I've heard stories of joy or sorrow about pictures either saved of detroyed. I've also realized that just documenting this event in our family album isn't enough. Consequently, I am coordinating a community-wide effort to create a scrapbook series chronicling the event and the recovery efforts thus-far.

Affected familes are invited to attend one of a series of workshops being held at local churches to create a page telling "their" story of the tornado, however they choose to do so. Each will use the front and back of a page; these will then be alphabetized and put into as many albums as needed to tell the story. Other groups, such as churches, the Red Cross, etc., will also have a page, and one volume will be devoted solely to a chronological telling through the use of photos and newspaper articles. All the books will be kept in the library until the new Town Hall is ready to be opened to the public.

Now, in addition to everything scrapbooking has given me new friends, revived memories, a real sense of purpose and fulfillment I'm being given the chance to share all those things with others. To me, this is the true gift not only doing what I love but using those talents to help others heal and to preserve their stories, creating a lasting within our community.

Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: A New Way of Looking at Life, by by Scrapchris in Seattle,WA


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