The other day I was digging through the contents of several as-yet-unpacked boxes stored in our basement (hey, it’s ONLY been three years since we moved in!), and came across something I haven’t looked at in what feels like forever – a gathering of memories in the form of my decades-spanning scrapbook collection.
Now before you get the wrong idea, my scrapbooks are not pristine, archival quality, carefully-curated albums. They don’t make use of beautiful papers with scalloped edges, colourful washi tape, or cute rubber stamps and whimsical stickers. And their completed pages are neither planned, artistic, nor particularly selective.
No, my books of choice are coil-bound with thin newsprint pages, easily found on the stationery shelves at your local department or dollar store. They’re rough and ready, quick and dirty, cheap and cheerful. And they’re filled with anything and everything – greeting cards, movie ticket stubs, silly notes from friends, event programs, vacation memorabilia, and random bits of ephemera that didn’t have another home but which for whatever reason I couldn’t bear to toss – all stuck down with bits of tape or a swipe of glue, the main goal being less about aesthetics and more about cramming as much as possible onto each page.
There are eleven of them in total, all full to bursting except the last (which still has a few blank pages remaining). The first holds the very oldest things I’ve managed to hang onto from childhood, and the last unfinished book includes items from early 2001. (I’m not sure why I stopped there – I’ve still saved everything as usual, but my 2001-and-beyond memories are currently stuffed, unsorted, into a collection of bags, envelopes, and boxes. One of my projects for 2015, actually, is to get – and then stay! – caught up on my scrapbooks.)
My scrapbooks are not pretty or display-worthy – in fact, to anyone else they might look like a random, unexplainable pile of junk – but to me, this dusty, dilapidated stack is a precious thing.
Paging through my scrapbooks transports me to other times and places… reminds me of happenings and situations that would otherwise have slipped from memory… elicits smiles, tears, laughter – and stories. So very many stories.
Which brings me to what I think is a rather intriguing idea for future Alphabet Salad posts: a new, semi-regular “Scrapbook Stories” feature, where I use the bits and pieces I deemed worthy of saving from the trash as inspiration to put some of my memories into writing – to bring them to a life of their own, outside their dark and dusty cardboard box in the basement, and share them with you.
I’m not quite sure just how often my Scrapbook Stories will appear – or even what form, length, or tone they’ll take – but I’m excited to discover where these explorations will lead, and hope you’ll enjoy following along.
Are you a scrapbook-keeper?