Scrapbooks and the Truth

I’ve been scrapbooking since my oldest daughter was 12 years old. 23 years.

When I first started, I had all the pictures from our life as a family with three kids, along with pictures for my husband and I from our growing up years. At first I used scrapbooks from the scrapbook store with page 8.5 x 11 inch page protectors. I stamped on my pages and used pinking shears for decoration, along with double stick tabs and tape. Not to mention, stickers. I even used construction paper in my first scrapbook. I did have some old style photo albums. Some with individual slots for pictures. Some with sticky stuff on the pages and film over the top. I had many envelopes with pictures and negatives.

I took all the pictures out of the old style photo albums and placed them in my new 8.5 x 11 inch albums with page protectors.

Then, I was invited to a Creative Memories scrapbooking party and learned the “truth” about the proper supplies for scrapbooking. That is, if I wanted to make my memories last, I had to use lignin and acid free paper so that my pictures would last and be protected for a lifetime. Also, the photo safe protectors to keep your pictures from fading. Of course, Creative Memories had all these super safe supplies. They also held workshops and parties where I could do scrapbooking with other scrapbookers. I bought into this whole system. I have many albums with scrapbook pages, stickers, glitter, and page protectors. I’ve spent at least a couple thousand dollars on supplies to protect my memories.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It would be more accurate to say that a few pictures in the history of the world are worth a thousand words.

This is one of my early albums with the 8.5 by 11 pages.

It contains pictures from my family’s Thanksgiving through Christmas events for about ten years.

I assert that most of the pictures in this album would not generate a thousand words.

Holiday album

Here are a couple of the pages. Very few words. This must have been about 1996, judging by the size of my kids and house we lived in. Looking through the scrapbook, I failed to write the year. How could I have done that?

Christmas somewhere in the 1990s

For so many of our pictures, we don’t have a 1000 words to explain them. I might have a 100 words. Maybe. These pages must have been 1997 or later, because of the picture of that tree. We bought it the year for the second Christmas we lived in that house. It was a giant tree. When we were in the store, we knew we wanted a big artificial tree because the artificial tree we had for the prior house looked so tiny in this house. This house was much bigger. But we overestimated the size of our living room. This tree was so tall that it touched the ceiling. We could never put an angel on the top of it. We always had to put her near the top. I don’t remember why we didn’t return the tree to the store. It could be that we bought it on clearance after Christmas the year before. Or it could be that it was too hard to get it back in the box to return to the store. I can’t remember.

And how would anyone know if I was telling the truth when I can’t remember the whole truth?

The words below are woefully inadequate. They don’t begin to tell the story of our visits to see Grandma.

The Creative Memories selling point is being creative in the way that we display our pictures in albums. Stickers. Glitter. Papers. Journaling. Most of these pages are before Creative Memories.

I wonder how many of our memories are creative in another way. We can’t remember everything, even with pictures to remind us. For instance, I can’t remember when we bought that giant tree. Was it Christmas 1995 or 1996? I remember my family was very sick during Christmas 1995 with influenza. I remember our kids laying on mattresses in the living room in front of the tree. They were running fevers on Christmas Eve. We didn’t open presents until everyone was well enough to enjoy opening presents. Was that in front of the giant tree or the little tree. Or did we have both at the same time?

Even with pictures, we have some creative memories. We are often not good historians of our own lives.