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Home. It's not only a place to store your things, but an ongoing chapter of your life.

As a young girl, I used to visit my grandparents’ home nearby regularly. After their children had grown, Grandmother and Papa moved in a typical post World War 2 home and while now I would consider it “cozy” with only two bedrooms and one bathroom, looking back, it seemed like the perfect space for them.  It was clear they had invested time, effort and money gradually doing home improvements to better fit their lifestyles.

Grandchildren and family were very important to them and throughout the house, this was reflected by the taped up artwork, displayed knick knacks, special family photos in a decorative bowl on the coffee table, along with a small glass canister always filled with pastel colored candies beckoning to be eaten.  At each corner of the living room my grandfather had built matching tall narrow floor to ceiling shelves filled with books.  On one of the bookcase edges were short horizontal line markings each labeled with the date and the name & age of a grandchild.  A yardstick encased in checked fabric and trimmed with white rick rack proudly hung next to this informal “growth chart”.  These handwritten lines showed how much each grandchild had grown over the years and what age they were when measured.  There was a wide age range among the cousins and I was on the young end.  Many of my older cousins were towering teenagers and adults so the chart was especially meaningful to me as a child because I could see that the cousins were once shorter also at the same age.  My grandmother had very distinctive handwriting so I could easily tell if she wrote the information or if someone else had.  Looking back it was really an ongoing family history of all the cousins/grandchildren – something to look forward to seeing whenever we visited.

 

Eventually my grandfather passed away and my grandmother had to move to an assisted living facility when I was a young adult.  I stayed with her while packing things for her move and revisited the grandchildren “growth chart” with her.  While her short term memory was not so good then, she very much remembered putting those marks on the bookcase and smiled brightly when we talked about the various cousins and how much they had grown.  Alas, the tall narrow bookcases were left behind with the house and were probably painted over when the new owner moved in but for me those labeled lines will always be there in my mind to think about and remind me of my proud grandmother and fond memories from the past!

What memories are you creating in your home?  How can you uniquely showcase & display something intangible like the “grandchildren growth chart”?  While handwritten notations on a built in shelf can’t always be easily saved for future generations, taking the time to recognize their importance and either save or photograph this “family treasure,” would have been a wonderful way to document a special family tradition for future generations.     Annette