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Making Active Memories

Treasuring pictures of loved ones is what we do.

Or maybe it’s a brooch from grandma, a cap gramps wore that summer he caught the salmon in Alaska. Sadly, the memorabilia often ends up in a drawer or tucked away in a closet. The next time we happen into said drawer, we pause, trace a finger over torn edges, missing stones. Tears stain our cheeks. Then, whack. The drawer shuts, present day returns.

This scenario is often true.

My children didn’t get to meet my mother. Oh, there’re pictures. But, what child is interested in faded photos of a stranger?

I CREATED AN ACTIVE MEMORY.

A deliberate attempt to insert my mother into my children’s life. I keyed on my own childhood memories. When sick or melancholy, my mother made buttered toast, cut lengthwise. Originally, the toast strips served as dipping sticks for soft-boiled eggs. Somewhere along the line they morphed into a catch all comfort food. 

WITH MY MOTHER IN MIND I NAMED THE TREAT LOIS TOAST. LOIS LIVES ON IN HER GRANDCHILDREN’S LIVES.    

In a world that urges us to move on, I say we pause, reflect and remember the important people who shaped our lives and allow special memories to enter our busy lives. By creating active memories, we breathe life into something good, something forgotten. 

Here are a few ideas:

  •  Upcycle old jewelry (or a host of other memorabilia), into modern  bling. The site Mili, offers workshops and examples of amazing transformations.
  • Reimagine a photograph into a puzzle.
  • Hire an artist to design a comic strip of grandpa’s favorite one liners. My father, Ken, had a slew of odd conversation starters like “When you getting your hair cut?” 
  • Change the game pieces of your favorite games to beloved relatives by using their face or name. Think Clue, Monopoly, Life.
  • Purchase a special bowl to serve or bake a passed down recipe in. Whipping up the recipe with a family member creates conversation, opportunities to share memories.
  • You’ve seen a park bench dedicated to a special someone. Rename a piece of your own furniture, car, bike or surfboard. 

I’m sure your mind in buzzing with ideas of your own. Active memories live on. Now excuse me while I make myself Lois Toast and a cup of tea.    

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