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Family Memories Writing Project 2007

One of the major objectives of OurEcho has always been to create a place for contributors to document their family’s memories. It’s not so much about the statistics of one’s life, it’s more about capturing and preserving the stories that make our lives unique. I think we all would like to have some of our family memories preserved for future generations, but it’s often hard to know where to start. OurEcho would like to help with that process.

Each month, we will post a topic as part of an endeavor we are calling our “Family Memories Writing Project”. The goal is to give contributors a somewhat organized way to document their past. I realize this may seem unnecessary for those OurEcho contributors who write beautifully and seemingly without much effort, but I am hoping it will help and encourage nowriters or wanna-be writers to get started.

Here’s how to participate:

1. Periodically, OurEcho will post a different family memories topic which contributors should use to create a post on OurEcho.

2. For the Story type, select “Family Memories”.

3. Add a title, select an appropriate year and use the name of the person that is the central character to your story. It might be your name or your mother or father’s name, but use a real name instead of “myself”. It will make it easier for search engines to find and catalog your work.

4. Add your story, and any pictures or voice recordings and publish your piece.

5. When you have finished publishing your story, select the link to view your story. From there you can select the “send to a friend” link and forward it to all your friends and relatives to enjoy. Hopefully they will join in and capture some of their own memories.

Anything preserved is valuable. I encourage you to also capture posts for other family members who don’t have access to a computer or the internet or can’t seem to get it down on paper.

And the beauty in all this… When we are long gone, our great-grandchildren can look back at our stories and know who we are. It’s a priceless gift that you are passing on and I can guarantee you that they will be glad you took the time to write it down. Why not begin today?

As an added incentive, OurEcho will award $500 to the best Family Memories Post received during 2007. Please select our contest link to learn more - OurEcho Contests

Nov 1 - Nov 30, 2007 - November Memories
Think back through the Novembers of your life. What did your parents have to do to prepare for winter when you were a kid? Describe the November weather in your area. What type of heat did you have? What activities changed with the weather? Baseball to basketball or snowballs. What was the roads like when you were young? Of course the best of November is Thanksgiving Day! I would like everybody to time-line their Thanksgiving Days. Maybe remember one every ten years, starting at the age of ten. I described my memories around the age of ten in “We Gave Thanks Prairie Style” No. 1159, but need to add to them as my family life has changed through the years. Try to include the menu, cooks, the carver and the guests. What else did you do besides eat fabulous food?

Oct 1 - Oct 31, 2007 - October Memories
Fall is here and do you remember what you enjoyed doing in this time of year? Fall has one of those in between weather, not too hot and not too cold. Let’s write about our first daylight saving times and how it affected your family’s life. World Series baseball coming up and football season is taking over. High school and college foot ball memories need to be recorded. Not just the players but the homecoming, bonfire rallies, letter jackets and the audience in the bleachers. Witches and ghosts are showing up in my neighborhood already. Do you remember Halloween fun, tricks and costumes back in the days when you were trick or treat age? Have you ever been tricked? Or had your decorations stolen? Columbus Day comes on the 8th this year. Have your ever done something special to celebrate this holiday? What was the largest event you ever attended or your parents attended. Do you remember “the Big Band” era. Who was your favorite Duke Ellington, Jimmy Dorsey and Woody Herman were a few. What was your favorite movie as a child. The girls will probably say Shirley Temple. My kids & I remember Bing Crosby and Bob Hope plus all the westerns. Have you met a famous person? Gail

Sept 1 - Sept 30, 2007 - September Memories
I recently read about a restored World War II P-38 named Glacier Girl being featured at the Oshkosh Air Show in Wisconsin in July and this jogged my memory of using food stamps and gathering scrap metal during WWII. We did without a lot of things because they were rationed, such as car tires, gasoline, sugar even meat. What are your memories of things during WWII? I also remember when we moved to town and had to buy oleo. It looked like lard until you put this small yellow pill into the oleo and blended it altogether. Still didn’t taste like butter. Have I jogged your memories yet? What kind of magazines do you remember your parents & grandparents having around the house? Maybe Good Housekeeping, Red Book, Country Gentleman, or an Almanac. Did you ever order anything from the ads in the magazines or order from Sears and Roebuck or Montgomery Wards catalogs? Or other types of catalogs. When did we start having home parties like Tupperware, Avon, to sell things to our friends? Those were fun and they still are except so many women have jobs outside the home that you can find only a few that have the time come. I see they have brought the Bobble Head dolls back. Every young person old enough to drive had some kind of those bobble heads on the dashboard of their cars, mostly dogs and other animals. This was just before WWII. I remember when Farm Auctions were a place to go to see your friends and find something you just couldn’t do without. Of course they were no fun if it was your family that was selling out. Did you ever go to auctions with your Dad or Granddad? Romantic ruffles are back again. My mother put ruffles on my dresses and blouses in the 1930s and again for my five girls in the late forties and early fifties. She even put them on her aprons. School started in our area this past week and school days should jog your memories of how you dressed, or carried lunch or ate at school. My kids each had a different lunch box decorated with their choice of popular characters on the sides. Did you? Let’s see how many different school memories we can come up with.

August 1 - August 31, 2007 - August Memories
It is county Fair time in my part of the world and soon the State Fair in Hutchinson will be entertaining crowds of people of all shapes and sizes. Do you have memories of going to or of entering something in your local county or state fair? If you entered did you save your red, white blue or purple ribbons? What did you enjoy most at the fair? This year Pepsi cans in our area have the Kansas State Fair advertised on the side. Did you ever go to carnivals, the zoo, rodeos, or the circus? Were you ever in a parade or enjoy watching them? As a kid did you play baseball or softball or go roller skating? How did you earn money to spend while at the fair? Did you get an allowance from your parents or did you do odd jobs in the neighborhood? Maybe some of you might remember having a lemonade stand or having a paper route. Did you walk or ride a bike? When did you get your first bike? Did you ever have a nickname? I was called Fibber or just plain McGhee all because of my last name and the radio show Fibber McGhee & Molly. Did you or your parents like to do crossword or jigsaw puzzles? What do you remember your grandparents doing in their spare time?

July 1 - July 31, 2007 - July Memories
With our Nation’s birthday coming up on the fourth, let’s try and recall how we celebrated the 4th of July as far back as we can. We used to go swimming and have a picnic. I can even remember when we had no fireworks, can you? What were your favorite fireworks? Our children loved smoke bombs and sparklers. If you recall picnics tell us your menu and how you kept the food safe. Who attended? How about some pet stories and the noise of the fireworks? Hallmark channel on TV is planning a month of “Rough N Ready” shows for July. How about writing some Rough N Ready stories or memories of your favorite Western movies? Our favorites were movies with Tom Mix, Dale & Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hop-a-Long Cassidy in them. Where did you go to see the movies? Who did you go with and what did it cost to get in? Who could forget the smell of the popcorn? Describe the theater inside & out. Do you remember the first drive-in-movies? Did your theater have drawings or gifts? I found an old Log Cabin Syrup tin that looked like the ones I played with as a kid. Do you remember what syrup you liked on pancakes as a kid? Did your mother make them from scratch or use a mix? Tell us some breakfast stories. What would you do if you had as much rain as Kansas, Oklahoma & Texas has had lately? Or have you gone through that sort of thing already? Tell us about your rainy ordeals.

June 1 - June 30, 2007 - June Memories
June has more weddings than another month. Does your wedding anniversary bring back memories that should be written about? Write about all the little things that made your wedding special. Who was there or did you elope? Who made your cake? Surely you have lots of pictures to choose from. How do you spend your extra hours you have in the summer because of the day-light saving time. Can you remember when we didn’t have day-light saving time and just worked from dawn to dark? Did your family take long vacation trips? Ever travel on Highway 66 and stay in motels when they were separate little cabins? Remember the Burma Shave signs? I have more postcards from my family's trips than pictures.

May 15 - May 31, 2007 - May Memories
In the merry month of May, there are many things to do that will jog your memory. Such as gathering eatable mushrooms and green plants that Spring rains have made plentiful. Do you remember your mother or grandmother going out to do this? Even here in town, I can find some of nature’s bounty to make our meals colorful and different by picking Inky Cap Mushrooms to add to soups, scrambled eggs and gravy. I also pick Poke, Goose Weed, and Lamb’s Quarter and cook them like spinach. May is also Older Americans month. This would be a good time to visit your older family members and neighbors and get them talking about what they did years ago. Graduation time is upon us but those dreaded finals always came first. Write about your senior year as if it was a letter to your great grand children. Add what was going on around the world during your final year in high school or college. Were you a class officer, in a class play, letter in sports or music? Tell about your school’s colors and mascot. As always, add pictures if you can. Also tell what you know about your parents or grandparents education. Memorial Day finishes up this month. Do you look forward to it because the holiday signals time to play outdoors or for the time to remember your family and friends that are no longer with you - or both? - Gail

May 1 - May 15, 2007 - May Memories
Memory jogs for May are abundant. The first that come to mind are May Baskets. My husband and I received two yesterday. What a great warm feeling. One was from new neighbors that just moved in. The other was from a group of church youths. Do you remember making them and surprising neighbors? Have you ever received May baskets? How did you feel? Were you ever involved in wrapping a May Pole for your school of did you town celebrate May Day? Spring song birds are arriving in my area. What are your favorites? Are you a bird watcher? It is interesting to watch the funny antics of the robins strutting in our street. Mother’s Day is coming and what memories does that bring you, or your parents? How do you celebrate that day? Do you give gifts of flowers, candy, clothes or jewels? It is school prom time and a great bunch of memories surround that special time. Do you remember planning & preparation of the prom night when you were a junior and the total enjoyment when you were a senior? Add pictures if you can find them.

April 15 - April 30, 2007 - April Memories
What do you remember about the Rubik’s Cube; Pet Rocks; Hoola Hoops, and the current one, Foam fun? Did you have home town newspapers or other newspapers you read when you were still at home with your parents? Did your parents read different articles than you did? Do you remember the cartoon glasses of the 50s? Do you have Tasmanian Devil of Willy Coyote in your kitchen cabinets? Did you ever enter a project in your school’s science fair? Did you ever work on your school’s newspaper? Tell us about your school’s mascot & what it meant to you. What about your most interesting class reunion? Have you ever had your parents take you to see their old school house?

April 1 - April 15, 2007 - April Memories
Many people play jokes on their family and friends on April 1st., better known as April Fool’s Day. Do you remember some of jokes you used? Everyone knows that April showers brings May flowers. What did your family plant to benefit April rain? Did your Mother or Grandmother cook something special in the spring that they didn’t fix the rest of the year? Do you remember getting your first library card, your first driver’s license or your first paycheck? When & where was your best Spring Break? Do you have memories to share about your family’s Palm Sunday and Easter celebrations?

March 16 - March 31, 2007 - Celebrate March
How do you celebrate March 17th? Will you be wearing the Green or out planting potatoes in your garden? How do you enjoy March Madness? Do you remember your first job? What led you to being hired? What was your duties? How did you dress, and how did get your lunch? What do you remember about your parents and grandparents jobs? Did their jobs influence your job? Do you enjoy or hate your job? How does your job affect your life and your family?

March 1 - March 15, 2007 - Wind and Dust
Since March is such a windy dirty month I would like to jog memories of the dirty thirties. Do you remember stories handed down in your family about combating the dust storms and how it affected everyone's lives? Do you remember the depression years; when the banks failed and everyone lost every cent they had? There were no jobs and families traveled Route 66 in groups, camping along the road at night, heading west looking for jobs. Many families have been going through troubled times in more recent years with lose of jobs and those memories should be preserved too.

February 16 - February 28, 2007 - Survivial Memories!
For good and bad, disasters, tragedies and weather play an important role in our lives and are some of our strongest memories. We can all probably recall a force of nature that made a lasting impression. Did you or a family member survive a great blizzard, tornado, flood, hurricane, dust storm, forest or prairie fire? How did you survive without power or water? What did you do to make things bearable? Can you recall any natural phenomenon that really made an impression (like a tornado driving pine straw through glass without breaking it)? Did anyone's job make them work in nature's worst weather? What human strengths or frailties were revealed? What other brushes with death have you survived to tell about?

February 1 - February 15, 2007 - February - The sweetheart month!
Doesn't that give you some thoughts to write about ? About this time of the year my grade school teacher, Miss Hawthorne of Eureka, Kansas would start us making Valentine cards and red & white decorations for our class room to celebrate Valentine's Day that comes on February 14th. I still remember how she had us fold the red paper in half and then cut the heart shaped valentine. starting from the bottom tip and up around the curve and down to a center spot. What a surprise when we opened them and would have a perfect heart. Have you given someone a special gift for Valentine's Day? I gave my husband a son on February 14th sixty years ago. Did you take your special girl to a valentine dance or something else very special? Do you remember how you were dressed or can you find a picture? Did you give or receive flowers, candy or jewelry? Just walking through the grocery and retail stores gets me inspired. Did your parents or grandparents watch for the groundhog to see his shadow? Or do you have memories of Abraham Lincoln birthday celebrations?

January 16 - January 31, 2007 - Winters Games we played at School

I’m sure your teachers were very inventive in keeping you busy even if it was too cold to go outdoors or too hot for that matter. Remember the chants we used when jumping rope or playing jacks. Here is a memory from my husband, Clyde “Seventy years ago in cold weather the students at Prairie Belle grade school could either read a good book, choose to play checkers, dominoes or put jig-saw puzzles together. The younger students created sandscapes for make-believe adventures in the sand box.“

January 1 - January 15, 2007 - Memories of my school years
Since school is starting a new semester my first topic will be: "Memories of my school years." Carol Garriott's post #1421 "Ah, those school years" and Bonnie Jarvis-Lowes story #149 "Will you save me the core?" are a couple of good examples. Is there something in their posts that jogs any school memories? What your school was like or who was your favorite or worst teacher? Did you walk, ride a horse or did you have someone take you? I'm sure your posts will jog even more memories. Gail Martin