I hope y’all have enjoyed reading our personal Creative Memories stories and journeys as much as I have! When we decided to share our stories with you this month, it was because we thought that Creative Memories (as we knew it) would be shutting its doors today, so we wanted to give them a proper send-off. As it turns out, CM is still here, but pixels2Pages is no longer working with CM as its licensed digital trainer. Funny how things turn out sometimes, isn’t it? So I guess we are still saying our goodbyes, even if CM is not.
By now you know (if you didn’t already) that all of us were Creative Memories Consultants. A couple of years ago, we had to choose between continuing as Consultants or resigning as Consultants in order to be Pixies. That was a tough decision for most of us; as you have read, we were long-term, committed Consultants! One of the things we did as a team was reflect on the many blessings that had come our way as a result of our association with Creative Memories. If you are grieving over the loss of the CM you knew and loved, I highly recommend this exercise for you, too.
My personal CM path is quite different from that of most everyone else I know. I had never been to a Creative Memories class, workshop, or crop at the time I became a Consultant. I had never purchased an album or a pen or a trimmer or any CM tool or product until I purchased my Consultant kit. I didn’t know anyone who was or had been a Consultant, and in fact, had never even heard of Creative Memories! How, you might ask, did I ever become a Consultant?
I am a games player. One of my favorite games is bridge, and for over twenty years, I met for a long girls’ weekend with three other bridge-playing friends. In the summer of 1994, I was sitting with my friends Debby, Helen, and Wendy around Wendy’s kitchen table in Dallas. Debby was telling us about a party she had gone to at her friend and co-kindergarten teacher Cathleen’s house. Debby had taken photos of her daughter at her first dance recital, and she had come home with a page, complete with stickers (Mrs. Grossman’s roses) and journaling. Now it just happens that earlier that spring, I had been at a Junior League meeting in Durham where I had seen a scrapbook unlike any I’d ever seen before. It had really white pages, the pages laid flat, the writing didn’t bleed through the paper, and the person who made the album had CUT HER PHOTOS! I have made scrapbooks for a long time – I even have a plaque that says “Best Scrapbook” from my college sorority – and I was the only person I knew who cut photos! Suffice it to say that my curiosity was piqued by this beautiful scrapbook, but I only spoke to the person who created it long enough to learn that someone named Karen helped her make it.
Sitting around that bridge table, I just KNEW that the page Debby was describing was something like what I had seen in Durham. I started asking crazy questions – were the pages really white? did they lay flat? did the writing bleed through? did you cut your photos??? – and Debby answered yes to all of them! Then I had to ask a dozen more questions before she finally uttered the words “Creative Memories”. “I could to that!” I announced to the other girls, and being the dear friends that they are, they said, “Of course you could! You would be great at that!” Never mind that I was a pharmacist….it sounded like fun to me! As luck would have it, none of us bridge players had the foggiest clue about direct sales or how CM worked, so Wendy called 1-800 information, asked for a number for Creative Memories, and handed me the paper with the number. Apologies to Cathleen and Karen, either of whom probably could have been my upline!
A week or so later, back at home, finally unpacking, I came across that scrap of paper and decided that since Wendy had gone to the trouble to get the number, I should make the call. There’s a really long story between that first call and the day my Consultant kit arrived (in October!) and an even longer story about how I finally started my business (in January), but the important parts are that I became a Consultant in October 1994, and my upline was Melanie Hempe, who became one of my best friends. Melanie lived near Charlotte, NC, about two and a half hours away from me, but for the next 10 years, I drove to her house every month for unit meetings. It was there, sitting around Melanie’s living room, that I met some other fabulous women, many of whom are still good friends. Together we weathered lots of CM ups and downs – who remembers one page (double-spaced) order forms? paper cement? mulberry premiere albums that came FREE with those $1000 orders? those scissors that cut all kinds of patterns? Deckle, scallop, postage stamp, zigzag, you name it, I had thirty pairs of them! We watched Melanie’s commission check go up, up, up and we knew that ours could, too! Melanie’s upline was Dawn Oldham, who I met on my one year anniversary, and we are still friends. Dawn’s commission checks were going up even faster than Melanie’s, and they even had to invent new titles for her! With role models like these women, how could I just do enough to get by?
I got goodies in the mail from CM without knowing why (they were incentive gifts that I didn’t even know I had earned!). One day, because it said I should in Scraps (about an 8 page, typed and xeroxed newsletter), I registered for my first regional convention which would be held in Orlando in February 1995. The other ones closest to me were Washington DC and Oklahoma City! When I called Melanie to see if I had signed up for the right one, she told me she didn’t go to meetings. AAACKKK! So I went by myself (that’s another hilarious story for another day!) and I met my sideline Patty Chaney, from Atlanta – and we are still friends! Another brand new CMC at that regional convention was Jenny Aiello, who was from Raleigh. Though we didn’t officially meet there, it wasn’t long before our paths crossed, and, you guessed it – we are still friends! I had no plans to recruit or even to really teach classes, but somehow I had a recruit by the next January. A couple of months later, I remember taking Susan to her first unit meeting at Melanie’s, and meeting one of Melanie’s new recruits – none other than Anne Lineberger. Needless to say, Anne and I are STILL FRIENDS!!
That summer, Melanie, Anne, and I attended our first Showcase convention in St. Cloud. Melanie only went because they called her and told her she had to, because she was getting her director’s chair. We didn’t even know what that meant! Anne was so brand new that she hadn’t held a class and so she didn’t register for any breakouts. Back in the day, if you didn’t register for breakouts, you didn’t have a ticket. No ticket, no break out! But that’s another story…. Oh, and did I mention that we stayed so long at the Mall of America (a good drive away from St. Cloud) that by the time we rolled into the Radisson in St. Cloud at midnight, the only room left for us was the Honeymoon Suite?!? Yep, we had a giant Jacuzzi tub IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR ROOM!!! Melanie and I shared the king size bed (mercifully, it was not heart-shaped or circular!) and Anne slept on the sofa bed. Oh, what a weekend that was!!
Forgive me for getting so off track – I start thinking about my CM career and all of the fun and funny times bubble right up to the surface. I could probably write a BOOK!! But hopefully you can tell that Creative Memories brought many, many blessings to me, and most of them were people. Women (and men) who were mentors, role models, paragons of wisdom, and most of all – FRIENDS. I have been blessed to meet many of our pixels2Pages members and fans. I’ve gotten to travel all over the United States, Canada, and Australia because of Creative Memories. I’ve had the privilege of being a leader to my own team (hey, Happy Girls!!), and now I answer to Mothership (and worse) at p2P. It’s been 19 years since I first heard of Creative Memories. Now you’ve heard of my first year or so from me, and you’ve heard from the rest of the team how we met, so I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks. Suffice it to say that I have NO REGRETS! Creative Memories has been one of the biggest blessings of my life, and I believe that the spontaneous decision I made to become a CMC was one of the best choices I ever made. Thanks for the memories, CM!
Here’s a little page to help you flesh out some of the details of some of my favorite CM memories – but remember I said it could be a whole book!