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Keepsakes and Memories

By Elaine Guerrazzi | August 26, 2019

I posted the following “story” on Blooms to Blossoms Facebook page this week.  

One of the many ways a quilt can have meaning is as a tie to friends and family. My friend Carol rescued a quilt from the materials bin at the church and has completed the work of the initial quilter.  During the time, Carol was working on the quilt a neighbor provided more insight into the quality of the work and materials used. After telling me the story of the quilt, I stopped by Carol’s house to see the project AND loved it!!!  Not only is the quilt a perfect fit for use in my home but the story and her “rescue and recovery” work is meaningful to me.  Since our move to the neighborhood Carol has been a great friend.

“Good friends are like quilts. They age with you, yet never lose their warmth.”

I am reading the Elm Creek Quilt series by Jennifer Chiaverini and the timing of Carol’s find and work is a nice coincidence.  A quilt is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere. 

Carol’s quilt

I started looking around my office, my home and even my yard and my car…interesting to consider the stories behind the keepsakes and mementos that surround my life. Tangible reminders can be inspirational and a guide. Revisiting the meaning of items in my office gave me the idea for my blog. I have a replica of a 1948 F1 Green Ford pick-up in my office. The significance is my Dad started his first business using that truck. He believes “we are all made up of potentials which can grow to be actuals” so that’s what I believe!! I have a cup of buckeyes (picked by me from under a buckeye tree outside of the Rec. Center at OSU on graduation day) with my doctoral degree graduation tassel and butterflies on a shelf in my office. My education provides opportunities for me to spread my wings to move from potential to actual. Putting these two “Elaine artifacts” together gave me the idea of Blooms to Blossoms.

The keepsakes of your life are objects that mean something to you; symbolizing a snapshot of your life that has personal meaning to you.  Keepsakes are forever and a reminder of a person, experience, event. Sarah Hosken (2014), a cognitive-behavioral therapist and counselling psychologist, encourages people to keep memento boxes. She explains that the overall process of keeping mementos stimulates people to put time aside to reflect upon what is precious to them at various stages of life’s journey. Gathering mementoes of places, people, and situations past, present, and future, inspires people to savor the meaning of their positive life experiences and to enhance their overall sense of wellbeing.  

Ways to preserve memories:

A memory book or box is a place to keep sentimental items, but not to display or to have on hand daily.  The tangible reminders of life that affirming interaction, encourage reflection, and celebrate events. Examples of items to include are: a book that inspires you, a bracelet, a letter from a friend, pictures, charms, knickknacks, quote from a card.  Keepsakes remind and comfort. There are so many items I’ve kept that I now look at and smile back to myself. Having something tangible is just one extra thing that helps me re-live the memories. 

Bookmark from Dad in 2015 that has also at times been a cat toy!!!

Reminiscing activity group comes from the therapeutic recreation field is another way to preserve memories. It is a social participation activity that stimulates and shares memories with others. Sharing with others the stories of the mementos are as important as preserving the mementos themselves. 

Sharing stories with others (verbally or written) can entertain and enhance relationships. DearPhotograph is an interesting way to share photos, tell a story, and preserve family history.

The Story of Campbell (told to me by my mom)

We were at a small, scenic park that we often like to drive through from time to time.  One morning on the way through the park, something caught my eye.  We stopped to take a better look and there next to a trash can was a tiny, little kitten with its head stuck in a Campbell soup can. The poor little kitten could not get its head out of the can…goodness only knows how long it had been there. As we tried to remove its head from the can without hurting the kitty, it would occasionally mew.  Finally, its head came loose and with a startled look it broke loose and ran into the woods.  We often reminisce about the kitten, we named Campbell, that was almost ours. 

The picture I added to depict the story
(this is not Campbell)

A study from the Association for Psychological Science (2014) reported that nostalgia is now emerging as a fundamental human strength.  Studies by Hallford and Mellor (2015), Melendez Moral & Fortuna Terrero, Galan, and Rodrigues (2014) support the idea of enhanced self esteem, life satisfaction, socialization and overall wellbeing through reflection and sharing of key life events. 

What mementos tell your life story? 

Feel free to share a story with my readers.  

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2 thoughts on “Keepsakes and Memories

  1. Some days I wish I could go back in life. Not to change anything, but to feel a few things twice. Unknown
    I absolutely love this quote.
    I am a sucker for singer/song writers and Gordon Lightfoots Carefree Highway is my go to for memories.
    As for knickknacks, I have recently started getting rid of these on my own. They mean nothing to my kids and I would rather get rid of these special memories on my own rather than have my children pitch them into the garbage when I’m gone.

    1. That’s a perfect song connected to this blog. You’ve mentioned music in prior comments…seems for you, music is a keepsake!! Downsizing is a good thing. : )
      Keep the important items…maybe there’s a story you can share with your kids about the keepsake and it may be more meaningful to them.

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