Editor’s Note: Hello, hello everyone! My grandmother passed away earlier this month so I am currently out in California for three weeks catching up on some much needed family time. The post below was written a few days after my grandmother’s funeral but I didn’t feel quite ready to share it until today. I hope it will inspire you tell your story in the same way my grandmother inspired me.
This past week we buried my Grandma Beryl. At 94 years old she had lived a long and healthy life and as my aunt said during the ceremony, the dash between her birth and death was full of amazing life adventures.
As the program at her service said, she was a teacher, author & apricot rancher. She taught high school typing and business for 34 years impacting 3 generations of students. As she often said, she knew it was time to retire when her high schoolers started coming up to her and saying, “You taught my grandma!” At the tender age of 80 she wrote a book documenting the history of apricot ranching in the California San Jacinto Valley – a book that’s become required reading in some university classes here in California.
As our family and friends celebrated her life this week, there was one common thread that kept coming back to me: story.
Our stories are our legacy and my grandmother knew that better than anyone because in addition to all of the other accomplishments in her life, she was also a scrapbooker.
Her scrapbooks date all the way to her early college days in the 1930s and are scrapbooks in the truest sense of the word: bits & pieces of life collected over time interspersed with handwritten notes, photos and newspaper clippings.
While her scrapbooks capture her husband and her children’s lives, it is no doubt when you read them that they are her story. Her thoughts, her comments, her adventures.
As my sister said after reading thru the 27-page write-up of the Mexico trip she and her friend Betty took when they were 19 years old, “It sounds like her.”
And it’s true, reading thru her scrapbooks is like having her there with you, witty (and occasionally self-deprecating) comments and all.
This is why I’m such an advocate for telling your story.
Because our story, our memories, our life adventures are our legacy.
Our scrapbooks serve as a connection to our past, present and future. They are a little piece of us left behind for the generations who come after us.
I’m going to miss my grandma. As a friend of hers said earlier this week, Beryl was one of a kind. At 94 years old, she was sharper than most of us can home to ever be and her can-do spirit and perseverance was an inspiration to so many who knew her. It saddens me to think I will no longer be spending lazy days out in Hemet listening to her stories.
But I take comfort in knowing that a little bit of her lives on thru her scrapbooks: her stories, her handwriting and the moments that mattered most to her.
So if you’ve ever wondered if telling your story really matters, please don’t. As the granddaughter of a scrapbooker, I can tell you it most certainly does.