Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our Visual Diaries

My high school scrapbooks filled with memories of dances, clubs, trips, and other special events barely made it to my 40th high school reunion. I recalled some things I wanted to share with my old classmates, but what had been important years ago had crumbled into shreds and faded into faint blue writing. The last time I worked on a scrapbook was ten years ago. Charles surprised me with a birthday party that included many family members and friends. It was such a special event; I immediately wanted to record the memories and made an attractive scrapbook that I still enjoy today.

Blue - Alexa
Red - Frieda
Yesterday my ten-year-old granddaughter announced she wanted to make a scrapbook. My plans for her three day visit included playing dolls and Disney video games. Her changing interests show how quickly she is growing up. So the money I planned to give her was spent at the craft store instead of on back-to-school clothes.

Just for fun, I decided to research the subject of scrap-booking. I discovered the concept has been practiced for at least 500 years. In the 15th century young ladies, compiled Commonplace Books which were collections of recipes, quotes, letters, and poems. By the 16th century, Friendship Albums were all the rage. Girls wrote notes in other girls’ albums and decorated them with artwork that signified their friendship. Creating a photo album was the next wave after the development of photography in the 1830’s. Collectors identified the photos by describing the people and the location of the picture. The 20th century saw the advent of the School Year Book. Collecting signatures and notes in the yearbook was a sign of the owner’s popularity. Hardcover and digital scrapbooks have taken the lead as the preferred methods for storing today’s memories. Scrapbooks made today will last much longer because the quality of the paper and computer storage options.

Today scrap-booking is a big business that reached its peak in 2006. Specialty stores are dedicated to the craft and hobby stores contain aisles of stickers, colorful papers, ribbons, and other embellishments. Alexa and I spent an hour figuring out how much stuff she could buy for the money I gave her. We brought the supplies home so she could begin her project entitled “My First Ten Years.” It was fun watching her creativity bloom and a reminder to me that I need to get busy again storing my memories. Then it occurred to me that my blog is a visual scrapbook–an online diary–that records my life events and thoughts not just for a few, but for all to see. 

No matter what form we choose, all of us should find a way to preserve our memories for future generations. Our efforts will provide us a sense of accomplishment and will inspire others for years to come.


  1. Yes, Frieda, so true! That is in part why I love photography. Sometimes, a picture is all you need to record, and recall, a special time, event, or memory. It is all a great way to keep family history alive for those coming behind us.

  2. Photo yearbooks.......autograph books...........turns back time for just a brief moment...refreshes our memory and makes us for a moment.....Young and nostalgic

  3. I used to make scrapbooks years ago and enjoyed it so much. Great way to record history!

  4. It is great that your granddaughter Alexa is interested in scrapbooking. Old photo albums sure bring back the memories. She will remember that special time when you encouraged her in this project.