Showing posts with label recording. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recording. Show all posts

Monday, May 26, 2014

Creative Journaling – photos are less than a thousand words

     I’ve always been an advocate of journal writing – but especially now that mom has passed. 

     After we put my mom into assisted living and were cleaning out her house in order to sell it, my brother, Corey, took mom’s journals with him to Las Vegas and has been transcribing them ever since.  He also took a couple of boxes of photographs. There have been several parts of her journal which have corresponded with unlabeled photos or have provided memories that have had us thinking, “Oh, yea.”

     Other passages have given us more insight to our overly quiet dad.  And lately – mom’s emotions about caring for dad mirroring our own with caring for her.  It’s been a rather interesting journey. 

     Some journal entries often seem boring and it feels pointless to even write about.  Journal entries written by teens can often sound funny or disheartening.

     Recently I discovered a journal while cleaning out Biff’s old room and converting it to Jenna’s. 

     Biff had received a journal upon his baptism when he was eight years old.  It had been signed by his bishopric.  It took him thirteen years to fill less than forty pages.  It amazes me that he has moved at least six times since receiving his journal and has it still – though he's never once written in it since we moved to West Valley.

     His entries from 1995 to 2000 are quite simple.  He didn’t start dating his entries until after then.  Thus it’s hard to tell what lines were written during what point in his life.  Here are some examples:

Today I was mad.  We played horse in the gym. 

Today I went outside to play.  It was fun

Today I went to the zoo

I had a good day today. 

I am 12 years old now.  6th grade is hard for me.  I have two girl friends (lie) named Charlene and Nollie

His first dated entry is Jan 24, 2000

That got on my last nerve




I am now 14.  There was an attack on America.  How it happened
Plane crash in building

All night this is my life.  I go to school, smile at people. 
I go home, smile at people, then go to bed. 
That’s my life right now. 
Hopefully it’ll get better.  I know it will

I am now 14
I’m bored . . . there is nothing to do at age 14
I had a girl friend.  I forget her name, but I wish she never lost my number because I lost hers. 
For some reason I keep thinking about her.  I have another girl that I think is cheating on me, but what do I know.  I’m still little and there is plenty of fish is the sea.  What I mean is there are plenty of girls out there.


Today I wasn’t so bored like always. 
I’m wresting.  I started wresting in Nov. 28, 2001. 
And it’s now 1/14/02. 
The big thing about this is I pinned some guy
in 2 seconds.  It never felt better. 
I hope I can do it again.

I keep falling in love with people who probably are not interested in me.  Oh, well.  I wish that I was, will and be bigger than anyone in the world muscle wise.
That is I also wish I had a girlfriend that’s love and cares for me.  I hope I won’t be so alone with no one at age 16.  I’m bored.  “Sigh” good-night

I like school and school likes me.  There are people to talk to don’t feel so alone today as you can tell.  Sometimes I feel alone but today I just don’t care.  I hope it’s the same tomorrow.  It would be popular.  We’ll see.

Graduation! From high school.  I’m sad.  I’ll miss all that were so nice to me. 

Wow!  Looking at what I’ve said in my journal makes me want to burn it or start over.  I’ve skipped so many things and also I’ve skipped the good things that happen to me.  Now my journal doesn’t even make sense to me.  Oh well, in October last year I’ve met my girlfriend, [Sharon].  I love her and now I can’t go so crazy.  Any more. LOL  Like when I put in my journal that I’m “ing lonely”
This journal makes me sound like a little boy, a sad, dad, little boy
Last entry:

What is wrong with me?  How come girls won’t talk to me.  And when they do, they don’t want to?  I do the best I can to be good.  I’ve heard so many times good things come to those who wait LOL not happing.  I really really really want a girlfriend.  My heart hurts because no girl is giving me a chance to love.

I had mentioned writing from journal jars in this post and as I was answering a question, I thought of a new way to journal and clean up my photos at the same time.

I have gone through different photos and provided more detail than just the title of the photo.  Most of my descriptions have been really short.

“I can’t say for certain why this photo was taken, but I can give a brief description about the outfits that Kayla and I are wearing. 

“Grandma Mary saved up money and would travel each year to different countries.  With this particular year she had gone to Scotland.  She purchased the red plaid in Scotland and had sent the fabric to mom.  Mom made these matching outfits for me and Kayla”

I suppose I could elaborate more about mom’s willingness to sew and her diligence to finish projects.  She said her favorite part about sewing is that she would get so caught up in whatever project that she would forget to eat.  She believed that by forgetting to eat that she would be able to lose weight.

“This was taken on Christmas morning.  Patrick and I are wearing our new pajamas.  I also received this robe.  That was the same year I received my first (and I suppose my only) Chrissy doll and a paint spinner”

Other descriptions were more elaborate and had nothing to do with the photo really.  For example, I had come across one of my cousin Jackie and me and my mom holding Corey when he was just a few months old.  Didn’t remember the picture.  But I wrote about Jackie and how we’re related and houses I had remembered visiting in Magna, Utah.

I wrote down the names of all of Jackie’s siblings and her husband and four children.  I also mentioned that Jackie and mom and I had worked together at the ice cream store several years after the picture was taken.

Mom once wrote:  “My journal writing has been so erratic.  I wonder if anyone will ever read these or be in the least bit interested in what I have written.”

Perhaps we don’t feel like what we write is worthwhile or carries any value.  Actually our words are quite valuable – especially to our posterity who is experiencing the same feelings that we felt. 

Mom and I have often used our own journals as a reference.  We’ll need to provide a specific date for work or health and when we know the details of the surrounding events, we can usually find whatever it is we’re looking for.

Corey says mom always detailed the amount of tips that were taken in or that we each received each night she worked at the ice cream store.

I don’t expect that my journal will ever be made well known as the diary of Anne Frank (for example) but that isn’t why I keep a journal.  I do it for myself.  I continue for Jenna. 

My writing gets hard to read at times.  Especially when my mind is going faster than my pen (which it often does) and there have been times when I have tried to transcribe my own journal.  That is actually quite difficult for me as I often want to change it.  I would elaborate with some entries and choose to discard others.  I don’t even know how much original I have.  Now that I think about it, I know there is some that got thrown out when mom’s house was cleaned.  Nate had told me that there was a box of stuff that belonged to me.  I told him to throw it out without even looking at it.  I figured if I hadn’t bothered with it for over ten years, I could certainly part with it.  Too late now.

My advice to all my readers would be to take the time to write your own history.  It will mean the world to those you leave behind.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Flooded With Thoughts . . . again

After two weeks
my head is
full of thoughts
Granted they are
different thoughts
but still enough
swimming through
my mind and
it’s overflowing with
new thoughts
new ideas
unlike the ones
before this
month started. 

Thoughts about
my mom’s
departure and
about the change
in song and
why and how
happy I was that
Joh got to sing “Smile”
instead of
“Embraceable You”
which evidently was
mom’s favorite, but
I like “Smile” better
and I love Joh’s
voice and he gave
such an awesome
introduction as to
why he was
singing it.  He
didn’t say that 
“Embraceable You” is
not acceptable music to
sing in the chapel.

I think Corey
was upset, but I
quite enjoyed it. 
I’m certain that
my mom did too.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

recording voices


I recently  took out my pocket tape player in order to listen to a talk I had recorded.  Apparently I never put it away as Jenna discovered it this morning.  I gave her a tape that could be used for a blank and she has been singing and playing and laughing.  Not expensive entertainment.  It’s fun listening to her enjoy herself. 

 Reminds me of when Corey used to do it.  He could keep himself occupied for hours.  I suppose I enjoyed it too.  But the reel-to-reel was not something I could just pull off the shelf and take control.  That was a heavy beast – and we didn’t have blank reels at hand like we had with cassette players.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

perhaps you could say it like you mean it . . .


If the school should call while school is still in session, I’ll answer ASAP but if the school calls after school hours, I usually just let it ring until it goes to voice mail.  There have been a few times I’ve answered, but had wished I would have had the voice mail recording so that I could listen to the message again.  Usually it is either the principal or her secretary who leave the message.  Both have made announcements as though they mean it.  But yesterday I got the final message of this season. 

            The voice was less than enthusiastic.  Somewhat monotone and robotic sounding. It sounded like a school marm who had just been dismissed from teaching and at the last second had been asked, “Oh, could you do one final announcement before you go?” 

It also had the feel of a spliced recording made from the 60’s on one of those old reel-to-reels. These are the words of the message: “Vantana Elementary reminds parents that Thursday is the last day of school this year.  school will dismiss ay 1:05 tomorrow.  As a reminder if your child owes lunch money, please send it tomorrow.  We hope everybody has a fun and safe summer.”

            The voice seemed to say a different thing however.  “Vantana Elementary reminds parents that Thursday is the last day of the school year.  Wish it was the last day permanently.  The school will dismiss at 1:05 tomorrow – so be certain you pick up your little brats. As a reminder, if your child owes lunch money, please send it tomorrow – or preferably instead of the child.  We hope everybody has a fun and safe summer – I personally don’t care if they do or not.

            Yesterday there was a program and awards ceremony.  Every child in the third grade was given something. Jenna’s award was for best classroom helper.   She is sad to see the school year come to an end.  She’ll be entering the forth grade on August 21st.  It doesn’t seem that far away – but I suppose the heat will add to how long it feels.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I’ve Been Forced to say Good-bye

          Saying good-bye is not always a bad thing.  Especially when it only invites clutter and chaos. In 1985 I was on my mission.  It was my second Christmas in the mission field and my family decided to send me a tape and king size card with greetings from various friends and neighbors from my home ward. 

          A 22X25 poster paper was purchased and folded in half.  My family decorated the front with pictures which represented my personality – a picture of Baloo and Mowgli from Jungle Book (I love Disney’s animated version of that show) Ziggy, a picture of ceramic nativity set, trees and flower in bloom, dance shoes, real mountains (Utah mountains,   not the hills of Virginia where I served) the Salt Lake Temple, dolls, golden plates, scripture  paintings  , and musical icons. 

          In addition to all the magazine cut-outs were two actual photographs.  One was of me with my missionary name tag and the other was a recent family gathering that I would guess Corey had taken (as he was not in it) which included my dad’s mother, brother, sister and their families – or parts of them anyway (my uncle’s oldest two are also missing from the photo)

My 11X14 card contained signatures from so many – it was an honor that my family had gone around with the tape recorder to so many of my ward family.  I think they must have gotten all of them with one devise or the other.  Some would sign my card from self and spouse – and then I would find spouses signature elsewhere on the card.  Some would just sign names without a greeting.  Most were just typical Christmas greetings – but there were some that added personal comments.  Surprisingly, I still remember everybody who had signed the card.

Corey had placed on the back:  “When you care enough to send something better than a Hallmark” and “the Best Homemade Card Company around” – it still makes me smile – and really, it doesn’t take up that much room.  But it’s been bent, torn in places, and some of the pictures have faded.  I don’t really NEED it.  Time to say good-bye.

I don’t know where the tape is.  I have several shoe boxes full of cassette tapes.  Most I will end up throwing away – or use them for recording things I would like right now. I think most tapes contain something that I want – but certainly not all of it.

I remember a couple of people singing Christmas songs on the tape that my family had sent along with the enormous card. One visitor said that she wasn’t aware that I was even on a mission.  It was nice to hear so many voices that had been familiar to me. My family obviously put a lot of thought into my gift and thus I cherished it.  Still do – just not in a tangible way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Losing Home, Discarding Memories & Wearing Out My Scanner

It will be a while before my next post – as I have TONS of photos and scrapbooking to go through.  I just simply don’t have the room for storing them – at least not the hard bound books (and there are many) but do have room on some drives to insert in the computer.

Blessed are they who can discard without sentimental attachment – for they don’t have to dejunk later on.  Their lives are made easier because they don’t save every little item.  They don’t have decades of clutter.

As Corey had mentioned in a previous post  Ellen and Nate have decided to throw out a bunch of mom’s junk.  And granted, it does look nicer than I think it has ever looked – and seems inviting.  But at the exact same time, it’s not
          I haven’t lived in mom’s house for over 11 years  but had always felt at home there.  I paid for the microwave that is in the kitchen.  I paid for the over-the-toilet cabinet downstairs.  Most of the pots and pans (that mostlikey don’t even get used anymore) are mine.  But we just don’t have room for them in our tiny house or ever tinier kitchen.  The house itself seemed to welcome me – but not anymore.  It hasn’t seemed to for the last year or so. 

Mom’s not the same.  And the house certainly isn’t.  I can’t just walk freely about the house as I had at one time.  The basement is now off limits – at least in my mind.  I feel like an unwanted guest so much of the time.  I don’t think Nate thinks very highly of me – not that his opinion of me matters.  But it’s hard enough visiting my mom as it is – and then to have the sane one act as though you don’t belong.  That he may be better than you. Here’s a salt shaker – why not just pour the salt into my wounds.
          And perhaps I’m just reading him wrong. I like things orderly and tidy too – though it doesn’t appear that way.  I’ve married into a family of slobs – except for Randy – who shows no sentimental attachment either and has no problem discarding ANYTHING.  And then there’s Tony and Jenna who are worse than I am about saving and hoarding.  And too often the sentiment is lost.
          I’m actually finding that right now with the things I have saved throughout the years.  I have embarrassed myself.  Why did I save this?  Why on earth did I save that?  What does this even mean?

          Last night I pulled pages out from two photo albums (the ones produced in the 70’s and 80’s; the ones with the magnetic pages that have tons of acid which eat away at the photos) and scanned a few memories;  pulled out the postcards for Jenna to send to her friends,  and ended up throwing away three scrapbooks this morning.  There’s really no purpose for me to hang onto it – especially because of the lack of space.

When we lost our first house, mom said I could store my memorabilia at her house.  She’s got tons of room.  She’d be in that house forever.  It would always be a part of us.  There was no reality for me three years ago when we moved.  Her memory was starting to go – but NOTHING like it is now.  The reality is that we may be selling mom’s house long before Roland and I can ever move from the one we are currently in.  Probably we’ll die here – and then our children will have to go through.  And Randy will be the only one who can throw it all away.  So I’m trying to help ease that burden now.  I am trying to consolidate and keep things simple.  Trying.  I just added to the overwhelmness pile.

The first album I went through included missionary photos – now nearly 30 years old.  There is very little sentimental (if any) left with that area or those I served.  I tried keeping in touch with those that I served with.  It made it hard when I was doing all the letter writing with very little (if any) correspondence on the other end.  And unlike Corey with a strong connection to many of those that he served, I lost track.  I don’t know these people.  And because the majority of them have faded and lost their color – it was easier to throw away. If worse comes to worse, I do still have the negatives  But is the technology for developing disc negatives still around? 

I actually did take this picture at Virginia Beach - I took it with
 my disc camera.  I was always impressed with the outcome

The second album started out with a week of summer activity.  Mom and Dad had gone with Corey on an excursion to  New York.  Kayla and I spent less money in the entire week than they did in just one day.  I removed those pages.

The remaining pages were of Patrick’s family.  Thus I will take it back to mom’s with a note for Sunny if she wishes to keep it or discard it will be her choice.  I am resigning myself from the position of family historian.

I have tried dejunking before.  Rationalizing that those who lived during Hitler’s reign were not able to hang onto their possessions.  With all the natural disasters that have taken place (floods, fires, Katrina, Sandy) so much is lost.  Why hang onto it?  What’s the point?
          I’ve made some scrapbook pages that I’m really quite proud of.  I would like to save those and pass them on.  I would like to save written words – they are so much more meaningful than what is typed into the computer – even if it does seem illegible.  I still have one more pile of scrapbooks.  And then the journals.  My pathetic journals.  Perhaps I’ll just throw those away.  I would like Jenna to have something.  But not so much that it will be overwhelming.

                                                          this would be an embarrassing page  

          Right now she’s fascinated with stuff from my childhood – asking questions.  Some I am able to answer.  Others I have no clue.  And I’m trying to teach her that if you can’t remember the reasons you were hanging onto something in the first place, perhaps they’re just not really worth hanging onto anymore.

          I did bring home a box she had made for the Reflections contest when she was in kindergarten.  There was an award ceremony that took place shortly after we moved.  I kept the box at mom’s house so that it wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle, and had actually forgotten about it.  Jenna enthusiastically retrieved it.  She thinks she’s going to keep it forever.  And maybe she will.  Maybe when she’s fifty she’ll decide she really doesn’t NEED it after all.

          And may my scanner last for many years and not break down in the middle of my “dejunking”  How grateful I am for modern technology which allows me to compact my memories.  I hope what I do save will prove to be useful for generations to come.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What do you Remember about your Baptism?

          My mom said that when she was baptized, she wore a white slip and panties.  She said it was embarrassing. She was almost nine.

          I find it odd that mom has no such records of the baptisms of her own children.  I don’t recall having seen a single photograph of any of us.  And yet it seems like it would have been important enough to get at least the two younger of my sibs. 

          I remember what I was wearing.  How pertinent – huh?  Mom had made a pair of white culottes – they were short, not the standard length they have today.  She might have made them because she didn’t appreciate having only worn a slip and panties herself.

          She also made a yellow gingham maxi dress which I wore to Church the next day. That is the sum of all that I remember.  No words, no people, not even my dad holding me in the water.

          I’m told that there were 25 kids that were baptized from our stake – five from just our wardI remember the names of two of the boys my mom said were baptized also.  I asked the mother of one if she had any memorabilia.  She never responded.

          My parents did give me a Bible.  I don’t know when exactly.  If it was on Saturday or Sunday – but I think it was for my baptism.

          The only thing I recall about Corey’s was that there was a small girl who was being baptized that day, also.  She was the smallest eight year old I have ever seen.
          At Kayla’s baptism, I do remember her smile as she and my brother, Patrick entered the water. 

          That’s all that I remember.  No talks.  No musical numbers.  Nothing.

          I have been to several baptisms in the last two years that happen to stand out more than mine did.  At least certain talks do.  And I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to share in the baptisms of others as I cannot remember my own.

          Corey and Kayla both seem to remember theirs.  They shared their experiences with Jenna.  That is cool.  To remember.  I hope that Jenna remembers her special day.  And it was special.

Unlike my mom however, I have tons of Memoribillia.  Uncle Bill took lots of pictures of her.  And I have been keeping a journal for her since before she was born.
          I’m grateful to be a part of baptisms – especially when I am called upon to participate.  It opens new doors for me.  Helps me remember things that I had forgotten.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Journal Jars

I once attended a Relief Society enrichment meeting where we made “journal jars”.  What is a “journal jar”? you may ask.  It is a jar containing questions that will hopefully provoke thought to get written answers one may record in his or her journal. 

Questions like:

“Do you remember your grandparents?  What special memories do you have?”
          “Did you have a favorite radio or TV show as a child?”

          “Tell about the changes you have seen in your lifetime: society in general, technology, fashion, politics, laws, inventions, etc.”

          Jenna absolutely LOVES to explore these questions – or my answers rather.  Often she can answer for herself, but many ask for detail on things that she hasn’t experienced yet such as marriage, parenting, high school, dating, etc.

          The idea of the journal jar is to record memories.  But Jenna loves to use it as a conversation piece or in place of playing games.  And I like that she likes it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I just DON’T have a passion for family history

          When I was twelve I took a family history class – only it wasn’t actually called Family History.  At that time it was referred to a genealogy. (Boring name; must be why they changed it) I was the only youth in the class.  The instructor was early 40s – possibly late 30s.  The rest of the class members were all over the age of 50.
Things were done on legal size paper.  There were Xerox machines (photocopiers) and pens.  No PAF,, Google, etc.  I would imagine doing family research is so much easier now than back then.

My instructor had been raised in a foster care system and had always had a strong sense of getting to know and understand her family.  It was a very long process.
I understand why family history is so important to her.  To have a connection.  And when she did find connections, the discoveries were great.  As an adult she learned that she had a sister who had chosen the same profession and was married to a husband who served in law enforcement just as my instructors husband had.  And I enjoyed hearing her stories.

I enjoy hearing stories of my own youth.  Or those of my ancestors.  But after a while they are just names.  I don’t know if I am seriously related to these people or not.  I don’t like family research.  In fact, I loathe it.  It’s just not important to me to know where I came from or how my ancestors were treated or how they treated others. 
Even when names and stories are given to me and they become more than names or stories but actual people I have read about in books – I still don’t know the accuracy of our relationship.  So what if we’re related? So what if we’re not?  I just don’t care.

That’s not to say I don’t credit other people with finding their ancestors.  Spending countless hours searching for some sort of a clue.  All the more power to them.  If that it truly what they love and want to do, let them do it.  Kudos to their desire and passion.  Bravo.  It’s just really NOT my thing.

For years and years our family could be traced to William Button’s mother, Eliza Tate – a very unattractive woman.  Legend was that she sang opera with her three sisters who were in favor of aborting her baby.  Upon hearing their plans, Eliza had run away.
 Eliza had William out of wedlock.  Now that had bothered me.  Wouldn’t a child out of wedlock have the same name as its mother if dad was not even in the picture?  I don’t know.  As a twelve year old I accepted all information as being accurate and complete. 

Recently I was told by a cousin that the information that we have had for all these years is inaccurate.  There are no records of any Eliza Tates being born in that particular town (or village or city or whatever) or approximate year.  The woman supposedly never existed.  So who is it really that appears in the photograph?  And where did the photograph even come from.

My cousin got in touch with another cousin – a very distant cousin to the both of us.  Her records indicate that Williams mother (who had him out of wedlock) was Jane Button.  Okay.  She had him out of wedlock and had given him her name. I accept that.  But does my approval really make it fact or fiction?  How do I know?

I do enjoy the stories I’ve read about my great-great (how many generations?) grandfather.  He sounds like quite a personable man who loved his family – and though he had his feelings hurt for whatever reason – seemed to resolve them.  But they’re all second hand stories.  I still don’t know what is true and what is not.  And it really doesn’t matter.

All of my ancestors were part of the human race.  None was perfect – though each of them may have strived to live up to the good family name, parents’ expectations, the community’s belief, or whatever.  All have had struggles – whether with an occupation or family member, day to day routines, diseases.  And then there have been black sheep and orphans – raised as orphans and yet they were produced biologically.  And I’m sure they can be found by one who has the passion to find them.  I don’t have the passion. 

My ancestors most likely experienced pain and sorrow, laughter and joy.  There was wealth and poverty.  They endured their fair share of trials.  They were part of the human race.

I do keep histories and scrapbook for my own generation.  Does that count? My passion lies with the future – though I do enjoy stories from the past and can learn from them.  The past is not where my passion lies.

I am grateful to all of those who have the passion and for the enthusiasm one experiences with discovery and sharing.  I am grateful to those who are willing to accept my choices for not pressing forward with my own family research.  And for understanding that the passion is just not there.