I’ve been looking forward to this quiet, cozy day at home to sit at my laptop, with a cup of green tea, and say “Hi!” It’s time to share one of the projects that has been keeping me so busy (in a good way!)… 😊
One of my Christmas gifts to my sweet dad was something impossible to wrap with pretty paper and ribbons. It was a promise and a project! I wanted to work with Dad to create his Memoir. Dad was happy when he opened a special card with my plan for our project. Throughout his 91 years, Dad has been living his best life. Now is the time to capture those memories and preserve them!
My dad is busy enjoying his days in his sunny apartment in a lovely Senior Living community. I enjoy visiting Dad and helping out, in small and big ways, several times each week. Recently when I arrived at his door, Dad surprised me with plans for a Movie Morning! 😊 He had already set up his vintage movie projector and had a stack of old movie reels just waiting to be cherished once again. Together we watched home movies from Dad’s childhood, his family vacations to Door County, Mom’s bridal shower, their wedding day, their honeymoon on Mackinac Island, and scenes from Dad’s military service in Korea. Those home movies were such a poignant look back in time. It was such a wonderful blessing to watch them together!
We were getting excited to begin our Memoir project! Two books from my bookshelf were especially helpful as I planned some interesting questions for our Memoir project. I’ve been videoing Dad for a few weeks, as we enjoy our conversations about his life.
Dad is a wonderful storyteller and it is important for him to reflect back on a life well-lived. I truly love hearing the old stories and learning so much more of my family history. I am asking so many questions and Dad’s answers are all being preserved in our videos.
We have both been savoring stories about Dad’s childhood and his teenage years. It feels like traveling back in time to hear how teenagers in Chicago, in the 1940’s, enjoyed their Saturday night dates. Dad often invited his dates to roller rinks and big ballrooms with live big band music. The teenage boys wore suits and their dates wore pretty dresses for these Saturday night dances. On their first date, my dad invited my mom to an elegant movie theatre, with live swans swimming in the theatre lobby. Dad saved his pennies from his after-school job to buy his first car. It was the beginning of his lifelong passion for cars!
Oh, how I love the stories about how my mom and dad watched one another across the playground in elementary school. Both quietly began to talk together in their youth group at church as teenagers. 💕After high school graduation, both Mom and Dad worked hard at their jobs. Dad surprised Mom with a marriage proposal and an engagement ring just weeks before he was drafted into the Army.
Once Dad entered the Army, life changed very quickly in so many ways for my parents. Separated by distance, Mom wrote a long letter to Dad every night while he was stationed at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky. They planned their wedding through her letters and his weekly phone call. Dad arrived back home, on leave, the night before their wedding. Mom and Dad had a beautiful, candlelight wedding, took their honeymoon, and Dad reported to Texas for the next part of his Army service… all within ten days! Just two weeks later, Mom moved to Texas to join him. Living so far away from family helped them to build a strong marriage right from the start. It was the first of many adventures for my dear parents!
Next week, Dad and I will video his memories from Army life and his wartime service in Korea. We are already planning our future videos, sharing his special memories from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s… through the 2020’s.
Each video has become a heartwarming treasure ~ rich with small, everyday moments and the big, life-changing moments that make a fulfilling, inspiring life. In our own quiet way, Dad and I are documenting the treasure of a life well-lived! There are sentimental moments, hard times, funny memories, and life lessons that teach me about quiet strength, hope, dreams, and resilience during the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s. Lessons learned during those challenging times, when the world faced so many problems of all kinds, are just as important today during our unsettled times.
I’m so very grateful to share these special hours with my sweet dad! I can tell that he feels the same sense of gratitude. Dad is also sharing lots of tender stories of loved ones who aren’t sitting there with us, especially my beloved mother, Darlene, and my cherished, younger brothers, Johnny and Jeff. We know they are smiling in Heaven because their stories are also being shared in such a personal way.
What began as a Christmas gift for my dad has become an irreplaceable gift of love to me, as well! While we are focused on preserving Dad’s lifetime of memories, we are making cherished, new memories!! Dad and I are both truly enjoying the blessings of our time together making memories!
💗 💗 💗 💗 💗