When Auntie Florence died in 2009, she was 96 years young! She was a wonderful Italian-American lady full of energy, great stories, and wonderful recipes. I loved her because she was a great listener and always interested in what was going on in my life. The amazing thing is she always remembered right where we left off last time we spoke. I miss her dearly.
After she passed away, I pulled out photos and recipes and decided to create an 8×8 tribute photobook of Auntie Florence. I asked other family members if they had any photos, stories or recipes from her. The book I created had 4 sections: Facts, Fabulous Food, Family and Fun. The Facts section contained the obituary of her life, the Fabulous Food part had many of her (and her sister, Grandma Evelyn’s) recipes that we enjoyed over many a holiday gathering. The Family section contained photos of family events and relatives’ special stories of Florence. The Fun piece has directions to the card game “Spite and Malice” that she retaught us each Christmas because we never could remember the rules. When the rest of the family heard what I created, they wanted their own copies of “Remembering Florence”. When I miss her, I go to my book and relive fun times (lunches together when my son was little) or get the recipe for one of my favorite appetizers (Ortega Chilis with Tomatoes)!
I created this tribute photobook to preserve my precious memories of Auntie Florence in one place. As I worked on pulling all of the pieces of this book together, I laughed and I cried and then I laughed and I cried some more. The process of making this photobook got me in touch with family members and we shared Auntie Florence stories. The laughing, crying and sharing stories were all very therapeutic in helping me process the grief I was feeling about the loss of Auntie Florence in my life. Having this photobook helps me feel like she’s not really gone, it reminds me that she is still with me.
Creating scrapbooks and photobooks can be social if you interact with others for photos and information, or if you are at an event like a Crop or Workshop (check out my events page) where others are busily preserving their photos, stories, and memories too. Dr. Clay Routledge, Behavioral Scientist, Author and Professor of Nostalgia says, “The scrapbooking activity itself and the community and social bonds this activity can create may offer an especially impactful way to benefit from nostalgia.” Nostalgia has been attributed to thoughts, feelings, and actions that promote a healthy social life. Also, nostalgia enjoying people reap benefits of feeling more connected to others, more socially confident and optimistic. So not only is it wonderful to have family memories kept for future generations to enjoy, the process of doing so is actually good for you!