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You probably already know this about me, but I LOVE the Day2Day project. I’ve done a photo a day project for 3 and a half years now, and I still get a kick out of it. There’s something so satisfying about a project like this. It is a record of my life in a way – not just the events, but the little things around me that make up my world, the sights I see as I go about my everyday life, the special occasions, the little details I might never have thought to record if I hadn’t been doing this project. However insignificant the socks hanging on my washing line might seem to someone else, they’re significant to me, because they speak of my life as a wife and mother, of my quirky style of OCD that means I need to hang them with co-ordinating pegs, of my aesthetic sense that delights in pleasing shadows thrown against the fence, of the mild weather we experience here in Sydney that means I can dry my washing outside most of the year. So much expressed in such seemingly unimportant details!

Recently I’ve been making some pages about my family history. Visiting the cemetery at the small locality (not even a village!) where my grandfather grew up in the early 1900s gave me a push-along to do some more pages about him and his family. We have so few photographs of them, and worse, so few of their stories have been preserved. In the couple of photos I have of my grandfather’s mother, she looks to be a very strong character. What was she like? What were her tastes, her passions? She appears well-dressed to my uneducated eye, but I know they weren’t well off, and wonder if she made her own clothes, or had a clever relative or friend who made them for her?

The facts I do know about her are fairly scanty – her name was Mary Betty Mercy Lister, she married Hedley Ernest ‘Ted’ Heaton in Feb 1902 in Brunkerville, moved into a 2 room slab hut with a bark roof, had 5 children (including twins first up) all delivered by her mother-in-law who was the local bush nurse, moved around a lot while her husband cut wood and built houses in the area, finally moving the whole family in with her mother when her father died, lost her husband to cancer in 1937, and died in 1962 of a bad heart and pneumonia.

How I wish I knew more! What was her daily life like? What brought her joy, what did she think about the big questions of life, how did she relate to the people around her? Did she hang her family’s socks on a line, and would she have shared my passion for matching pegs if she had the option? Which brings me back to scrapbooking and my Day2Day project. How much more my great-grandchildren will know about me than I know of my great grandmother! Not just the facts and figures, but the things that made me tick, the place I occupied in the world and the things that occupied me. They might not care, but if they do, at least there’ll be a record.

What sort of record are you leaving for future generations? Will they wish they knew more about you, or will they have the pleasure one day of poring over a family album, laughing at the funny old-fashioned clothes you wore, marvelling at the things you did, recognising some of their own character traits in you, and learning what life was like in your place, at your time?

Content used: Little Feet Digital Designs Stained Mini Kit Era, Cottage Arts La Librairie Alphaset, Font: Alex Brush.

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11 Responses to Blog: I wish I knew

  1. Anita Albritton says:

    Alison, I love your blog!! And that page is fabulous!! I am somewhat on again off again about my genealogy searching, but when I am really “into it” I totally feel the same way. It seems that the dates are relatively (ha…made a pun!) easy to find, but what I want to know is who they were, how they felt, what their dreams were, etc! Thanks for sharing your story and page!! 🙂

    • Alison says:

      You are very welcome Nita! I’d love to see some pages from you about your family history. But more importantly, keep making great pages about life now, so your future descendants know you too!

  2. Shirley Bennett says:

    I began scrapbooking when a group I belonged to had an outing to the local Creative Memories consultant – I did”not want to go” as I knew that I would be hooked. And I was. The point of this story is that “on show” was a heritage wedding album – and I thought “I could do this.” I had my Great great grandmothers marriage certificate and a photo of the couple on their arrival in NZ. I have scrapped all our family weddings on my maternal side including all the wedding invitations and a photograph to match of family weddings held during WW2. I thank God that my mother was a hoarder! She even kept the original envelopes.

    • Alison says:

      Oh, that’s wonderful to have even the wedding invitations Shirley! And in this digital age we can keep copies of things like that and don’t have to be worried about being overrun with clutter. I’m glad you got hooked!

  3. Mary says:

    Love your page Alison. I have a book completed on my Fathers side but not my moms. Great reminder to get started on it!

  4. JR says:

    Alison,

    First I love your page! Like you, I do not know a lot about my grandparents’ likes and dislikes but I have some pictures that I can work with. It is hard to believe that my cousin knows nothing about our grandparents. Talking to him today by phone I found out he did not even know their names or where they are buried. It is so sad that a lot of people are missing a part of their heritage. I have been researching my family genealogy and in doing so I have been neglecting my digital pages.

    Janice

  5. debbie says:

    I exactly feel the same way about my D2D books. You hVe exIned my sentiments exactly

  6. Linda DeLaughter says:

    I am also working on my family heritage album. I discovered (after my mother’s death) a box of photos that she had left to me. In the box were hundreds of photos of German relatives who never emigrated to the U.S. as my grandfather and grandmother did. I discovered that my grandfather left 2 brothers and 2 sisters in Germany, who had children. Their children’s children are my age and I have been able to find them. We visited with them last September in many German villages.
    However, they, too, do not know anything about our matriarch and patriarchs. All I have is a few photos — like you. If my Mother had only given the photos to me before her death, perhaps I could have gleaned information that could have shared the story of her life.

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