When I was in high school I kept a scrapbook. It wasn't anything formal or fancy - but it was more than a photo album. I kept mementos - scraps, if you will - taped into a big book with no archival quality paper or adhesives or sheet protectors. Just a book of scraps - ticket stubs and programs and newspaper clippings, nametags and feathers and photographs - if it would lie relatively flat, it found its way into my book.
I continued this process in college and for the better part of a decade beyond. Sometimes I added little snippets from magazines if I found something that fit - something that provided narrative to my story and served to make it look a little bit like a ransom note. "Help! I'm being held hostage by the present!"
Those books ended up forgotten in storage in a cubby hole in my mom's house where they became yellowed and brittle and the tape lost any adhesive qualities it may once have had.
After Dad passed away, Mom went on a huge house purge. Dad was a depression-era hoarder and Mom goes into conniptions at the very thought of clutter. You can imagine. They had worked out a compromise of sorts - but when compromise was no longer necessary, she got to work getting everything that she didn't need out of her house. She enlisted the help of my sister and I, not wanting to make the mistake of throwing out something that she viewed as junk and we might view as treasure.
It was in this already sentimental, vulnerable state that I came across my scrapbooks.
Friends that died way too young smiling at me from a time when they were even younger, relationships that had long gone sour looking fresh and sweet and new, flowers pressed from a dance with a boy whose face looks familiar but whose name is elusive - these are just a few of the things that were preserved - albeit unprofessionally - within those pages.
It was overwhelming.
It was wonderful.
I don't keep a scrapbook anymore. I haven't kept a scrapbook since 'scrapbook' became an acceptable verb. I didn't think it was pure. I thought it took something away from the purpose - storing memories - and turned it into an almost competitive craft - something to show off rather than to treasure quietly. Something impersonal. Classes on how to craft a beautiful page - bah! There was really nothing beautiful about those scrapbooks I found in my Mom's cubby hole, but they were among the most lovely things I'd ever seen. I thought the perfectionism of the craft diminished the sweet sentimentality that was inherent in a 'real' scrapbook. ('quotes' around a word twice in one paragraph - tread carefully there, Tammy - it's a slippery slope...)
So imagine the mixed emotions that went running all around in my brain when a digital scrapbooking company offered me the opportunity to do a really sweet giveaway. Digital scrapbooking is not for me. But I knew the moment I read her email that a lot of my readers would really like it. And while I don't grok the concept of scrapbooking as it has evolved, I fully understand the need to preserve today's memories for tomorrow. Just because I'm an opinionated dinosaur doesn't mean everyone has to be one. So I accepted the offer. But I will not be using and reviewing the product. I will leave that to Lea - my eldest - who was thrilled with the prospect. So. Great giveaway coming up soon. Watch this space.
I'll leave you with a little Billy Joel, because it seems appropriate. And speaking of music - I hear there's a way you can listen to it now straight from your phone. I'm more of a vinyl gal, m'self - although I did succumb to CDs. Easier to listen to in the car. But I hear they're about to become obsolete. I hear this phone business works in the car, too. *shakes head in wonder* What will they think of next? (I'm only sort of kidding...)