Before my Dad died, we sat down and recorded a number of memories from his 86 years of living. One of them involved a small wooden chest I have in my office today.
Dad’s family was living on a farm in Douglasville. My childhood memories make it seem like it was a long way from town, but Dad remembers you could get the groceries and supplies with a mule and the wagon and not be gone longer than a day. When the whole family was out working on the farm, my grandmother ran out yelling that their house was on fire. By the time they ran in, it was almost engulfed. Dad ran into the smoking house and retrieved a small wooden chest which contained a shirt, a new pair of bib overalls and three one dollar bills. It was all he had left from his early childhood. That chest has become a treasured possession in the family. After my Dad died, my sister and I agreed that the only possession either of us really wanted was “Grandpa’s chest,” as all the grandchildren affectionately called it. So, it spends time with me every year and then I take it to my sister’s home for a while.
Memories are among the few things we can never lose. Some are around physical things. Some are more psychological or spiritual. Some of our memories are traumatic and we need to find ways to divest ourselves of those. But the good memories are worth recalling and sharing with those we love. Now that I’ve reached my 77th year, I have begun to write and save some memories and lessons for my children and grandchildren. It’s an exercise all of us could do. No one has the life experiences you do, and your descendants will not fully know you if you don’t take the time to share with them.
Many of our memories revolve around the Christmas season. Some we share through old 8 MM film and others through pictures. These days we can view the digital shots on the screen. As the year comes to a close, make some unforgettable memories with your family and record – in writing, on film or video – some of those no one else can save except you. It’s a gift your family will appreciate! Perhaps someday the only thing anyone will want is the “chest” of memories you leave behind. Think about it.