Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let's Have Tea - New Year's Eve

Let's make a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy a quiet moment at the end of the year.

Are you planning any New Year's resolutions? I'm skipping my usual diet/fitness plans because I've never made it past a week. I'm thinking about writing my memoirs this year though. I've written a huge list of topics, and I plan to write essays about them as the mood strikes. I've written a few "chapters." Sometimes I start to write about Topic A and as I get into it I realize the real story is about Topic B so I go there instead. It won't be chronological; it will be organized by themes.

Why write memoirs? Well, first of all, I'm curious to read my story. Every life has a story, and I know there must be something funny or interesting there somewhere. Also, someday a grandchild (if I have any) might be interested in knowing something about her/his ancestors. Probably "her." I would love to read an essay written by one of my grandmothers or great-grandmothers! I would want to know the common everyday things. What did she like to do? What did she have for lunch? What was her favorite recipe or song or flower? What were her thoughts and feelings? What was my mother or father like as a little kid? Would I be disappointed if she didn't write elegant prose? No! I'd love to hear her own conversational "voice." So I'm not going to worry about saying it just right. I'm just going to write it like I'd write to a friend. Like I'm doing now.

Twenty-two years ago I asked my Grandmother to crochet a throw for each of my sons to be given to them as wedding gifts. They were only 1 and 4 years old at the time, but I told her I'd wrap and keep them until the time came. She really liked the idea, and she added wedding cards too. They're still in storage. She died 20 years ago. Maybe I'll write a little story about this in my "memoirs." Maybe a cd with lots of photos should be part of it too. This is going to be fun.

Have any of you done this? Do you have any advice?

Wishing you the best New Year yet! Hugs to you!

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Cheryl Willis said...

I am so happy for your boys that you have saved the gift from grandma for them. I have a couple of pieces from mine that I just treasure. I started years ago making quilts for future grandkids. Each one gets baby size when they are born, I have twin bed size ones set back for when they turn 12. (I don't know why I picked that age)
So far I only have 5 grands and I have started on wedding quilts for three of them, I let the kids help pick the fabrics and pattern and when I get a day here or there I work with the child in sewing their future heirloom. The kids seem to enjoy that they each have a tote that is dedicated to their future family.
On the idea of writing your stories down, I say go for it. I never could get the journal thing going b/c I would ramble and not feel like I documented the 'day'. Now with blogging it is easier to go with the flow of ideas and just see what sticks to paper.
What a neat thing you are doing for your family, having a place to read your thoughts. I think we are going to see more quilters start doing that too. have a great New Years- I will drink a cup and purpose to post. be good cheryl

stufenzumgericht said...

...and, did your grandma quilt? Your thoughts about writing family histories remind me, that my aunt, the sister of my father did wrote , and that there were a lot of stories about funny things that happened in their daily life.But she died some years ago and a don't know, what her husband made with theese written testimonials. I'll ask him, for sure!!!
I wish you a very happy new year with lot's of new selvage ideas! Thanks for sharing them with us!!!
Hugs from Martina

clare's craftroom said...

That is the most beautiful idea ! I love it ! Happy New Year .

Stephanie said...

Happy New Year Karen! What a wonderful idea. I know one day family members will be happy to have something to read about past generations. So much to know about our families and I don't think we appreciate that until we're older. I'm actually going to be a lot better about labeling my quilts. I have a friend who is making a quilt for each of her 5 grandchildren (all 3 and younger). They're for their weddings as she's an older grandma she's afraid she won't be around for their weddings one day and wanted them to have a quilt handmade by her.

kimbuktu said...

I agree with your reasons for writing a memoir. Mine in in the form of a scrapbook. It is not finished though. Maybe that should be one of my resolutions for 2010.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

Mimi said...

What a wonderfully reflective post. Thank you.

May 2010 bring you health and happiness.


Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Karen, I love your idea. What a wonderful way to document your thoughts about your life. And how precious that your grandmother crocheted for your grandchildren. My own Mom passed away before my own children were born, but I did have a couple of crocheted blankets that she had made. I hope you will share your progress on your memories book. Wishing you a happy and blessed New Year.

Jackie said...

Karen, What a fantastic idea! You know I never thought of it, but I too would have loved to read a memoir written by my grandparents. I would find it very intriguing to see how they accomplished all the wonderful things in their lives. I think that if I were to do one, I would fashion it the same way that you would, just write it. I don't think that there would be any other way. That is similar to what I do when I blog, just write. Happy New Year!

Barb said...

I actually started writing "The Story of Me" towards the end of last year. I think I've done 3 or 4 posts so far. It's been pretty therapeutic for me and my family has really loved reading it. I know I would have loved something like this written by my mom. So many unanswered questions. I still do regular posting in between so it's not a chore... but it's been great. Good luck!

Linda said...

What a beautiful thought, Karen! Memoirs. When one enjoys writing, as you apparently do, and as I do, it's not such a difficult task to accomplish. Though, as a wordsmith, I often get caught up in the technical aspects of writing, versus content. Still, it's a great idea. Sounds like a great reason to make a selvage journal cover too!

I'm making a resolution. "Ten in '10" is about making ten projects in 2010. Do-able I think. I hope you'll join me.

Melinda said...

I have a friend who is busy making wedding quilts for her grandchildren. The one she is working on now is for a 3 year old. They will be treasures for the future.

Anonymous said...

my father wrote a several page blurb about our family. It had some interesting stories.

Laura Bray said...

I love your writing project idea! I'm also tearing up over the image in my mind of your boys receiving your grandmother's wedding gifts. What a beautiful, beautiful idea. Happy New Year!

Cathy said...

Love that story about the crocheted throws from your mother to her grandsons. I might copy that and make wedding quilts for my (future) grandchildren. I did not have my daughter until I was 37 so it seems unlikely I will live to see grandchildren get married.

belinda said...

Sniff...sniff....I'm teary eyed right now reading your post. I oh so relate. This is what I am doing...I have notebooks/journals for each grandchild (2 girls). Whenever a thought or notion hits me about whichever one I am thinking about I go in and write them a 'letter' that day in their notebook...kind of like a diary only it's a collection of letters to them that will never be sent. On the front of each notebook is
marked "Dear Shaylee" and "Dear Malory". These have been kept me only....I hope one of these days when I am gone they will treasure the notes and letters I wrote to them...that they will know that they were always on my heart and mind and the words I have written will instill in them how much I loved them!! I also have a box for each of them that I put things in that are marked dated or labeled with a little story about each item and maybe a reason why I put it in the box for them.
I LOVE your memoirs idea!!!

Darlee Byron said...

I certainly agree... let's not make any more diet/fitness resolutions! For us creative types, a creative goal that enriches our lives and lasts all year, really sounds inspiring. If there's a passion attached to those resolutions - they're sure to hold and come true. Happy New Year!!

Akiko said...

Wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing.
Happy New Year :)

Margaret T. Zenk said...

Karen, Happy new year to you. I just got back from a week in Vermont, spent with my husband's extended family. My MIL is 83, and the kids just love to hear the stories of her life. We go up every Christmas, and the extended family endures each other for 4-10 days depending on school vacations. My dear MIL doesn't craft but she was a nurse practitioner with a ton of education and she always knows what to do in an emergency, and has a real passion for life. Funny thing about her is that most of her friends are in their 50s and this keeps her young. We all treasure her!
So here's something to think about. A few years ago, I made a resolution to read a book a month. I renew this every year. By far, the best books I've read are people's memoirs. So interesting! A Girl Named Zippy. The Glass Castle. Bad Blood (Lorna Sage). Etc. Real people writing about their own experiences...nothing is better (take it from an English Lit major)! So go for it!!
One other thing ( I see others are leaving rather LONG messages...) The whole stinking trip to Vermont, surrounded by family, I died a thousand deaths because there was no ME time to do anything with the sewing machine that I keep up there. I'm back home now so I'll try to catch up. Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

I have not written memoirs but I am typing some! A friend writes for a "class" in her independent living home. Like you, the "chapters" are topics. You say that you are going to write in themes, well how about keeping the final organiation "open" for a while and see how it all eveloves? Since I have only known this woman 20 years there are a lot of the pieces that I do not know. And when I am typing I want to know more. So my suggestion is to write your topic of the moment, tell that story, those memories, feelings, etc. Then the next day go back at the end and put in the who what where when and why sort of info..... at the end. date frame of the story, "Nae's" full name, dob, place of birth, town story took place, that sort of thing.
Date 1939
Nae is Margaret Mary Jones Schnieder dob 1889
Town: Bloomington, IL

by putting it in a different day you keep the intergety of the story as it is in your mind - you want the story to be first and "pure". adding the who what where stuff at the end is only for organizational purposes at some later date - it will come to you - but at the end who ever comes after will enjoy being able at some point to know how the pieces all fit together.

I had an Aunt by marriage who wrote beautifully. She wrote for the newspaper way back when women did not "work". In her 60's she did genology of her husband's family, put it all together with with wonderful stories and pictures and diagrames of how the six Theordore Stubbs all fit together so when you where reading a Theordore story you could place which one you where reading about. This was all done BEFORE computers. When it was written she published it and gave a copy to each living family member and two to the local library. The fact finding part of the history involved writing county seats for birth, death, wedding certificates, trips to read the microfish newspapers, etc. Well, her family history/genology was next up.... AND she came to figure out that she did not know who her grandfather was!! Shocking!!! Always thought it was A but the certificates did not support this. Was very anoyed at her grandmother who lived with her family 20 years and nothing was ever said or hinted at.... why my long story...... you never know what my evolve.

Kim said...

I asked my Mom to make both of my kids a knitted blanket for their first borns ( about 10 years ago, she has been gone for 5 years now)......and last year one was given to my first grandchild with tears all around for the Great grandma that never got to meet her newest family member.
Now I will make quilts to have for my grandchild and maybe for their children too.

Happy New year

Selvage Quilter said...

Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions, encouragement and stories. I got some good ideas from you, and I'll let you know how it's going now and then. :)

Greenmare said...

Happy New Year! The story of the crochet throws is great, you must get that one written down for your boys!

Robin and Jenny said...

Hi Karen, and all other readers. Hope you do keep up with your wonderful idea of writing your stories down. I went to a creative writing course and one of the points they stress is "one idea, one story". So far I have written about such things as how I met my husband, my son's first hair cut, rock'n'roll at the youth club, all sorts of things. The idea is to keep it as short stories. These days with computors, scanners and digi cameras it is so easy to add photos to writing. You write a wonderful blog, of course, so you certainly have a few ponters about writing already, haven't you. Good luck, let us know what happens.
Jenny from New Zealand

Barb said...

wonderful idea, Karen.
We are lucky to have a few memoirs of family members. I wish I had one of my mother, who has been gone almost 20 years.
I applaud you!