MemoryGrabber Newsletter, 25 March 2001

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In This Weeks Issue:
1)Re-Energize Your Journal Today For Tororrow
Tips for adding historical content to your jouranl writing!

2)Real-Life Family History. Excerpt of my Ancestor in 1846
"Meeting Up With An Indian Camp, 24 May 1846"

3)A MemoryGrabber Activity "Create Inventory List"


Re-Energize your journal writing today for tomorrow

By Michael Boyter

(The following article is from an article written for a journaling newsletter)

Some write journals and diaries for the therapeutic value of it. Admittedly, there is value in this exercise, but I have always written a journal with a sense of historical perspective. When I write, I envision my grandchildren and their children reading about me and the era in which I lived.

I highly encourage you to expand what you may currently be doing with your journal. As journal-keepers aren't we always looking for something more to write about? What you write today may be the only record of your current families' existence. Think about it!

Write What You Think and Believe - You're likely familiar with the cliche "Don't discuss religion or politics with others." That might be a good idea but not when you are talking about your journal. You wouldn't shy away from discussing such matters to your children today so why hold back your hard-earned wisdom, opinions and knowledge from your family's future generations? This is your chance to be, perhaps, more honest about what you believe in than you ever have. Don't miss it!

Write About and For Your Children - Your journal can easily become very self-centered. That's not bad, but don't miss the opportunity to keep a record of your children as they grow up. Include important dates like "first tooth " and "first step". Write about their teenage and adult years from your perspective. Your children will appreciate reading about themselves once they reach adulthood. Encouraging your children to keep a journal is highly recommended but nothing can substitute for your view on their early lives.

Write About the World Around You - Given a choice, would you prefer to read about history as lived by your great-grandparent or from a stale encyclopedia? Instead of reading a bland page or two about The Great Depression, an old family journal would reveal the struggles that your family went through and include how they survived and coped.

Instead of generically learning of the invention of the automobile from a textbook, you could perhaps relive the thrill your relatives experienced as they took their first ride. All of this is possible when historical happenings are included in journals.

If you are one of those who believes that "Well, yes the invention of the car was exciting but what have I to write today that can compare to that?" Here are some things that I believe will be of huge interest to future generations. If you agree, write about them.

· Write about your first computer · What was your early impression of the Internet? · What was your first purchase online? · Write about the first time that you saw the space shuttle blastoff. · Man walking on the moon

If you really think about it, you could make a huge list of historical happenings and tell of your thoughts and how they affected the family.

For those days when you can't think of what to write or if you just want something different to write about, print out the news headlines from your favorite web portal such as Yahoo or even Jot down your "take" on the day's happenings. It doesn't matter whether the news is about international things or Hollywood. If a particular news story doesn't interest you, simply write, "this doesn't interest me" then go on to the next headline. Even a no comment tells something about you.

If you use journaling software, you may even want to copy and past whole articles on occasions and include it in your journal.

Name Dropping - Like most, you likely associate this with someone who likes to show off or brag, but "name dropping" in your journal is very important. The type of name dropping that I refer to here is that of extended family members. Do not forget to mention brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents etc, especially as they interact with you.

For example, "Today I spoke on the phone with my brother Jeff". Maybe mention a little about what you spoke about and don't forget to occasionally mention his wife and kids and a little bit about them. His son is your nephew and what you write today may be the only bit of information that his descendants may know of him. Maybe you think that this is a little overboard but, to be sure, hundreds of indirectly related relatives will someday be thankful to you.

Family Stories and Traditions - Are there any enjoyable family stories and traditions that you wish to perpetuate and have carried on? Of course there are! So don't forget to include all of those stories in your journal. The treasured family stories that you grew up hearing just might be told for hundreds and hundreds of years to come, but only if you act now to preserve them. Get with other family members so that they can help you recall those that you don't remember.

A Journaler's work is never. There is always something else to write and endless stories to tell. It's a good thing that we enjoy it so much isn't it?

If any of you wish to use this article in a newsletter or on your web site, feel free to do so.
Please email though to inform me of when and where you decide to use.

Real-Life Journal Excerpt, 24 May 1846"

Taken from the Journal kept by my Great-G-G-Grandfather, Simeon Fuller Howd who was 33 years old at the time of writing

Monday, 24 May 1846, Near Chimney Rock

"The day began very cold, traveling was good. Traveled ten miles before halting at mid-day for a break.

While we were halted two Sioux Indians came to camp and in sign language asked for food. They were fed with some bread, meat and beans. They indicated that the main body was camped on the south side of the Platte River."

"After traveling 16 and a half miles, we pitched camp. The scouts sighted the indians camp on the opposite side of the river,
the wagons were drawn in a circle."

"Some men went down to the river bank with a white flag, when the indians saw the white flag, they held up an American Flag, they began to cross the river. Some were sing.

"It was noted that they were well dressed and noble looking fellows, Some of the women were pretty brunettes."

All appeared well armed with muskets and for cleanliness and neat. They all would vie with the most tasteful whites.

Some food were given, some were escorted around our camp. We made sure they were shown several repeating revolvers and the cannon. The cannon crew went through mock loading and firing of the cannon several time, which seemed to please them very much

" "The old chief amused himself very much by looking at the moon through a telescope for about 20 minutes."

If any of you journal/family history excerpts from family members that you'd like to share with the group, please email them to:

Family History Excerpts
I believe that reading family history from the past can serve to inspire each of us as we preserve our own stories. Yes, the things written in journals from years ago sound exciting, but most of the things written were of normal everyday happenings for that time.

This reminds those who think that their life isn't exciting enough to write about that perhaps their life will be read,someday,with more interest than they think. Don't let this be an excuse for not writing at all.


MemoryGrabber Activity ...Inventory Lists

Inventory writing is very similiar to list writing. In fact, it's almost the same thing with a different twist to it.

This involves writing lits of your possessions or property. One example, would be to write down all the books(or almost all of them)on your bookshelf. I wrote a similar articular about this in particular:

What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You?
Using this same bookshelf example there are many other areas in your home that you can "inventory". Of course do not list something that would embaress you or anybody else in your family, but by including these inventory lists in your family history and autobiographies you not only tell of events in your life but what your life was like day to day.

Your grand children and great grandchildren will have the next best thing to being able to "go back in time" and visit your home as it was during your life.

Time has a funny way of making bland things interesting.

Please remember, though, this is suppose to be fun and I am not saying you need to list everything everywhere! Just a good sampling. This will not only give your family members in the future a chance to "visit" your home but many of these items will spark more stories to include in your autobiography

Here are some ideas of places in and around your home that you may want to consider inventorying.

Inventory Ideas

Key Chain - What are all of those keys for? A boat? An old truck that you loved?

Your Junk Drawer - We all have one.

Storage Closets -

Your Pockets - What do you have in them right now?

Your Purse

Your Car - What you keep in your car says something

The Desk Draw - Home or work. Do you keep candy in there?

Computer Software - What software have you accumulated?


Garage or Storage Shed

Keepsake BoxAlso a Hopechest or Footlocker

Home Movies - One tape of our "1992 trip to Canada" for example

Photo albums

CD collection

Your Barn

Medicine Cabinet - Could be used for family medical history. Example, high blood pressure pills could mean a tendency for it in the family.

Clothes - Clothes and events go hand in hand

Your Yard - If you love hanging your clothes, you may even mention your clothes line.

The People in Your Office - If you don't work in an office, use the people on your street or people from any group that you belong to. These are "players" in your life story.