Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Mama’s Memory Jar
When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, they often become items tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and record your memories so the family treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.
While browsing through a copy of Woman’s Day magazine, I came across an article that caught my eye; my first thoughts were, “I have to make this for my mother.” I was so excited about creating it… and I couldn’t wait to start. As soon as I found pen and paper, the memories flowed so fast that I could hardly keep up in writing them. One page led to another and another, and before I knew it, I had many written pages of memories to share with my mother. I became more and more excited about this project as I wrote.
Every time I thought I’d exhausted my memories, more flowed in. I was having so much fun in remembering all the shared memories with my mother… I didn’t want to stop writing!
I couldn’t wait to show “my memories” to someone so I asked my daughter, Melissa, what she thought about the memory jar. She was excited with the idea and after I let her read all the ones I had written, she said, “tell Angel to save these for me!”
I could tell how much she loved this gift so I immediately began making her one also. I first thought “21” years wasn’t long enough to generate enough memories for her jar, but as soon as I began writing – I thought I’d never stop. Writing down my memories for her, was just as much fun as writing Mama’s. I was so excited, and couldn’t wait for both of them to open their memory jar on Xmas morning. I bet Melissa tells me, “I knew you’d make me one!” On Xmas morning she had a look of total surprise… looked at me and said “I’ll open them when I’m alone.” She didn’t want to share them with anyone.
What I wouldn’t give is to have seen Mama’s face when she opened hers. The rules for the memory jar were to open “one” everyday, but I know my mother – she’ll sit down and read every single one at once, and that’s exactly what she did. When I called her, the first thing she asked was “do you have any more, you left some things out.” She wrote down some things she remembered that I forgot and put hers in with mine; I had teased her that I was making something special for her and Melissa. In each jar I put a special note in the bottom of the jar; which was supposed to be opened last. Melissa couldn’t wait in telling Angel to save her jar for her.
I had so much fun in writing all those forgotten memories for my mother and daughter that I actually hated to finish, but there’s always new memories to add in the future. Maybe I have created something new, but it will be an on-going gift; a gift that never stops – a “new” family heirloom.
My next memory jar will be for my son – hope he won’t think it’s too mushy, but I plan on putting his memories in an old cigar box; and there will be one for hubby too!
This was Mama and Melissa’s Xmas present in 2000.
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© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserve