2023: A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal! The Best of our Journals

It’s that time of year again, the “Oscars” of blogs…. and Coming Soon to my blog on April 1st!

Theme Reveal” day is super exciting… as it means I’ve finally decided on a theme… and believe me it’s not always easy… as there is usually several floating through my head. A few were axed, sadly… but there wasn’t always time in fluffing to finalize… and be on-time for the April preview. My first choice had been “Cleaning up Unfinished Drafts” from my draft folder. I don’t know if you’re like me… having several, or even hundreds of drafts, just waiting… yet never finding the time to finish… (My hand is up way-high… leaning to the hundreds of un-finished’s)!

Drumroll….. and the winner is “The Best of our Journals”… bringing me back for Year 8 of the “A to Z April Challenge”!

Are you scratching your head about now… wondering what is this A to Z challenge… then head on over to my post explaining it all… HERE. It will explain what its all about… and just maybe might have you jumping down the rabbit hole yearly with me. See ya down there!

If you’ve followed my journey in the A to Z saga’s, you might have seen my April 2017 A to Z of Conversations with Mama. In moving away when I married… over 900 plus miles to be exact, I lost the chance for daily conversations and visits… now occurring only by phone. During my early life of being a new mom, raising children… and all that goes along… well, it didn’t leave much time for even phone conversation. It was much later in life when I began to enjoy nightly phone calls with mama… and even more so after becoming more absorbed in family research… it was then I began purposedly asking mama more questions on those calls. I soon was rewarded with new tidbits and family stories often remember during those calls …. and I began scribbling them down… which is how my journal of those such stories was born. Often at times, she’d ask “what are you doing, are you writing down everything I say?”… Yes, mama I am! She’d laugh…“better you than me, as I hate to write!” Without my mother, I’d never have my stories… but sadly those stories ended in 2020 with Mama leaving this earth at age 90… which has left a missing void deep within me. Funny how years later, I’ll almost get a quick thought of something I want to ask her… and for almost a fleeting minute, I’m thinking of calling… but then I’m reduced to only hoping she’s thinking of me from high above. I have a story soon planned on my mother… her last days and closing her home; yes, there are drafts, but it’s so hard to write when tears can’t stop flowing… but I hope to finish mama’s story this year.

… but back to this years A to Z

My journaled conversations with mama, soon led me to record the many conversations with my husband from day to day. Steve, just like mama, has, and remembers so many of his life stories… but he, also like mama, would never think, or want to write them down. When I married into his family… I also married into a family full of stories… and I was thrilled and enthused to hear them over and over… and soon began scribbling them down. I’m a firm believer in story saving… as I want my children to know our stories. I’m just one of those people who become more excited over stories and photographs than shopping for clothes… call me crazy… but just call me with a story, and I’m quickly transformed from that quiet person at a party… to a person who might not stop talking so easily once a story is told to me!

Anyone that truly knows Steve and I, knows that you hardly see one without the other right behind. We’re like Barbie and Ken... and have gone through life together now, by each other’s side, for almost 52 years… which happens this year on May 5th! We have remained “best friends” from the first night we met on October 31, 1970″… meeting at a Halloween party… at a place I was not supposed to truly be at… being underage, but it was meant to be! Unknown to me, behind the scenes, we seemed to have been set-up… but only he seemed to have known about me; being told that I had wanted to meet him? Me… I was told nothing about him and had no clue of this “behind the scenes” of someone hooking us up. While I was at the club (The Sandpiper) that night for a Halloween party… but there just to have fun… and was dressed in one of my high school formals… silly me dressing as a fairy princess… how lame in thinking back! Steve remembers seeing me dancing all night… with several guys he tells me, and never leaving the dance floor… but for some reason he never came to ask me to dance… saying now he felt uneasy in approaching me amidst my dance party all night on the floor… so he watched! My girlfriend and I were later invited to his house for a party afterward; Steve was in the Air Force and lived off-base with his buddies. I had no clue where we were really going, other than knowing friends of ours lived just next door… of whom, one of them had been the culprit in hooking us up.

I walked into his house, after changing out of my dress… in fringed, bell-bottomed jeans, an army field jacket, and very giggly… he still tells me. I tripped and fell into his waiting arms… never leaving his side after that. I still can’t walk a straight line today! He said when I walked in, he knew I was all he wanted in a girl… long dark hair, long legs and a southern drawl… he was a Yankee!

So that’s how we met… and how our conversations began!

Steve has a good memory… never forgets anything… well almost! When he talks about the details of school life, cars, weddings, living with his parents… I think to myself… why don’t I remember such details of my life? Where are my memories hiding… surely, they must be somewhere in my cerebellum. If not for mama telling me my life stories… I often wonder what memories would I have?

For many years I’ve journaled our stories… so I don’t have to worry about forgetting them. Having an I-phone, often makes it extra easy in having a place to jot notes when paper and pen aren’t available. I still have a bulging folder of jotted down memories… and hating to throw away those scribbled, hand-written words. I’m just a paper-chase girl of papers and scribbled notes… hating to part with… even though they are now written.

As Steve and I became empty nesters, we soon began enjoying those “all” alone times… bringing us back to our early years before the children… now once again enjoying quiet conversation of just us… often yielding in even more stories. By this time, I was beginning to ask more detailed questions as to specifics on his Boy Scout days, family life, parents and even his military life. We often took drives through his hometown, where we still spend much time even now, and he stills surprises me with new memories… as every road we take brings memories back to him.

One of the first things that caught my interest when I moved to his hometown of West Haven, CT… was the telling of stories of a place called Savin Rock. It had once been a shoreline amusement park, similar to Coney Island… a place he grew up enjoying… while thinking it would never disappear. It actually began way back in the late 1890’s… dwindling through the years, but much still hung on, like rides, fun houses, and the famous racetrack where his uncle races… all for him to enjoy as a boy. I was quickly fascinated with these stories, which yielded me even more family stories to write; Savin Rock stories can be read over HERE.

I hope my A to Z this year, has you remembering your own life stories… possibly coinciding with his of the Boy Scouts, joining the Air Force, weekly haircuts, school memories, uncles you idolized, the family home, weddings, summer memories, jobs held, fishing, family foods… and so much more!

In reading through “The Best of our Journals” in editing… it has been like falling down a rabbit hole of memories… and who doesn’t enjoy remembering some of the best times of their life? Steve has given me the best years of my life, and I can’t imagine life without him… which brings me to tears even thinking about it for a glimpse of a minute. Honey if you’re reading this… I “Love You” more than any words I can say… Thank You truly for giving me the happiest days I’ve ever had. Like Steve always says, you show someone love by doing, not saying… proving that every day! He is truly my knight in armor!

So if you dare to follow us down this rabbit hole of our memories… I hope it encourages you to remember yours… as they are a precious part of a life and marriage. Just maybe… next year I might see some of you writing your memories! This has been a labor of love in writing ours… for our children, grandchildren… and future great-grandchildren to know us… know us as once being young… doing things they never would have known we did, or even thought of. A few things I’ve left out of those journals… only remaining in our minds… as some glimpses just can’t be shared!

If you’ve made the read through to now… Thank You for reading… as I often become pretty long-winded in writing, as well as talking. But again… once I begin writing, the words just can’t stop flowing! I’m looking forward to reading all your “theme reveals” this week… seeing my old A to Z buddies from previous years and discovering new ones. I’ll be logging your reveal sites in a “to visit” post I usually begin… just so I don’t have to remember… as on April 1st, I want to hit the road posting and reading!


Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories 2022: A to Z The Best of our Journals… Time Traveling through my blog… and more.

If you haven’t planned to write in the A to Z this year… there’s still time to join in and write… and even if not in April… start writing your memories! Remember… just words, turn into something memorable… Your Memories!

Hope to see ya soon…..

To read more Family Stories… click HERE

Like to read more 2023: A to Z… The Best of our Journals, click HERE.

© 2023, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2023: A to Z... April Challenge: The Best of our Journals..., Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to 2023: A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal! The Best of our Journals

  1. hdh15 says:

    I like reading and hearing stories like this. I’m a retired teacher, now storyteller and writer. I look forward to reading your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jeanne, your theme sounds amazing. I am going to do my best to stay caught up with everyone. Best of luck with the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is definitely a great way to take up the challenge! Looking forward to your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tamara says:

    Jeanne, I think I’ve read some of your Nancy Drew posts back then.

    I like your plans for this season, you’re doing a good thing writing down these memories, probably almost therapeutic.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Looking forward to your series of stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. travelgenee says:

    Having so many drafts resonated with me so much. I have drafts in WordPress, Evernote, notes and paper journals. I tried to use up some a few years back and planned to use more the following year but ended up to busy at work to join in. Hoping to this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lisa says:

    What a fun topic – and such a great idea! Good luck on the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joyweesemoll says:

    Great theme! I’m looking forward to the family stories that you’ve recorded over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. timsbrannan says:

    This sounds great. I am looking forward to seeing what you post all month.
    The Other Side | Blogging A to Z Theme Reveal: Doctor Who

    Liked by 1 person

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