Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankgiving Project by Design Team Member Jennifer Evans

Family is pretty important to me. I love the memories that I have of my late grandparents and wish that I could hear them tell me just one more story of their growing up in England or their adventures coming to the United States on the Queen Mary. Growing up, we always had photos and stories to share about our family's history.

When I got married, I asked my in-laws about pictures of them or their family and they told me they didn't have any pictures of them as babies. I was shocked! No photos?

A couple of years ago, I was in the spare room helping my mother-in-law. She came across a few boxes in the closet. She said they were her mother-in-law's and she didn't know what was in them. She opened them up and inside was envelopes. I asked if I could take them home to look through them and she said it would be fine.

Needless to say, I found a gold mine. My husband's grandmother was quite the scrapbooker at heart. She had organized every envelope down to each month since her marriage. Inside each envelope were negatives! They were still in perfect order including the negatives of my father-in-law as a baby in sealed envelopes! I was the first one to crack open the envelope sealed with a 1950's date, hold up the negative to the light, and squeal at the treasure I had found. Some of these photos had been lost at what was thought forever. She had preserved them by sealing the envelope and keeping them in a dark closet for years!

Layout by Jennifer Evans
Using Crate Paper's Farmhouse line

I purchased a professional negative scanner and began preserving my family's history. I then decided, that my son should know the story of his family and wrote up questions for my family to answer. I emailed these questions to family members ahead of time and asked them to email me the answers before Thanksgiving. (You could give them a date before Christmas too).

I didn't tell the family my real reason for collecting these answers; they all thought they would be just reading the answers on Thanksgiving. What I really did, was compile the answers and gave every family member their own page in a scrapbook. I added recent and the new photos I found hidden away in the album.

I will never forget the look my in-law's had when they opened their Christmas gift that year. There were pictures of their wedding that they hadn't seen in over 20 years on the front cover. Their eyes were filled with tears and they were speechless. Now, that was the best gift I could have ever given them! A collection of memories to pass down through the years.

Some of the questions I gave the family are as follows. Feel free to use them in your own scrapbook album. The more questions the better because they may not want to answer some of them if they don't want to.

What was it like growing up as a small child?

What was your favorite part of school?

What was your favorite memory of your grandparents? Your parents?

What did you like to do as a child? What was your favorite game?

What was your favorite food?

What was your favorite childhood toy?

If the album is for a specific person add What is your favorite thing about ___________?

What is your favorite holiday memory?

What was your favorite family vacation?

What do you love about being a __________ (mom, dad, aunt, uncle, etc.)

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