Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Memories

Last post on this subject matter dealt with “Collecting vs. Family Museum.” This Monday I want to share with you what I did this past weekend – organizing memories. Yep! Back into our family museum, this time on our children’s collections. Oh, how I almost despaired tackling this treasure trove. Their museum has a total of, at present; 44 years for Tiffeni and 27 years for Charlie, totaling 71 years of keepsakes. WOW! And because my Blog Spot will focus on their museum at a later date, I just want to sum up at this point how I felt as I opened many of the boxes of the things they chose to save. And what a blast to the past I had!

The hallway was strewed with toys, a large wooden horse, table and chairs, dollhouse, rolls of posters, bins of baby clothes, and of course boxes. The first items I organized were the baby clothes. And more than baby outfits. There were piles of play clothes, fancy dresses and little man outfits.
 And shoes! Now these are by far the most endearing items. As I picked them up and felt the smooth leather and re-tied the laces, I floated on a wonderful flood of memories. The tiniest ones gave me much pause. Then I ran my fingers over the scuffed toes of the shoes they wore when they began crawling. Their first walking shoes made me laugh at the pictures in my head of their tumbles and falls and determination to feel the power of movement in their little legs. Even hubby got a bit misty eyed when he recalled how his Tiffy would call out to him to tie the laces on her first pair of sneakers. Before I put them back in the box, I lined them up and took photos of them all.
Then came the boxes of school papers, a toy chest full of journals, and toys galore. The baby toys tell many stories, but the toys the kids really played with when they got holder hold the magic of their imagination, personality traits, learning styles, and interests. As we watched our children play with these toys, little did we know then that they were the tools of their development. And most importantly, the children, now adults, can see for themselves when they pass by their museum, how important it was and is to save the things from their past, for it is from their past they learned what they do in the present and take in regard in planning their future.   
So back I go into their museum for I have much more work to do before I have it all organized, photographed, and ready to share with you. Meanwhile, I am enjoying my Monday Memories. I hope you have many good ones, too.

Next Post: Tuesday Treasures


Friday, June 27, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Wedding Plans, con't

After thoughts: It seems that soon after I posted my last entry, I think of things I should have included. That evening, my family and I watched one of our favorite movies – “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” That’s when it dawned on me that I should have added that to the Wedding Plan post, as well as another very apropos movie, “Father of the Bride.”

In “Greek Wedding,” the scene when the bridesmaid dresses are revealed is hilarious. How many weddings did you stand up for where you dislike the dress?  I remember having to wear a mint green high-waist chiffon gown for a friend’s wedding. I was taller and skinner then the other bridesmaids and the dress just didn’t fit. But I wore it none-the-less and promptly donated it afterward. And the scenes of the gregarious Greek family imparting their wisdom and advice was so familiar to me being from an Italian family.

From, “Father of the Bride,” the scene where the bride’s father checks on his daughter sleeping on the living room couch, bride magazines scattered about with notes on ‘how to make your own cake’ and ‘get a friend to take the pictures’. That convinced dad to hire the wedding consultant.

There are many other movies that showcase the frustrated bride and groom and all the hurdles they deal with while planning their wedding. Never-the-less, whatever is planned and how it turns out, everyone will have a good time. And when you are invited to a wedding, whisper into the couple’s ear to have them remember to save the little things. If they ask you why, tell them that all their memories belong in the Family Museum they can start the day after they are wed.

Congratulations to all you new Brides & Grooms. May your marriage be a happy and long one.   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Wedding Plans

Picking the Date. Getting the License. Church ceremony or other venue. Choosing the Wedding Attendants. Creating the Guest lists. Where will the Reception be? Wedding Cake. What kind? How big? Flowers. What florist? Entertainment. What kind? Rehearsal party? WOW! I am exhausted just thinking about all the parts that go into planning a wedding. I read that it is recommended that in order to plan the ultimate wedding, use a wedding checklist with a timeline based on the 16-month length of the average U.S. engagement.  One can be found at:

Other helpful hints are also available, such as creative cards helping guests find their seats. Photo checklists, and even having the bridal shower at a bowling alley. How about having the wedding in the Backyard? All the how-dos are on this website. As I perused the lists, I was actually astonished that when I, with help from a few others, planned my wedding, we did it without having such an all-encompassing list. I am sure many weddings before 1969 had consultants with lists helping the undecided bride. I did not and our wedding event was successful. But perhaps in today’s fast-paced world, one should get all the help they can. After all, a wedding needs to be the best it can be.   

Using some of these wedding checklist how-dos as lead-ins, here are some photos from our wedding. For, “Picking your perfect attendants,” here are my three Bridesmaids: Lori, my sister-in-law, Janet, good friend, and Runi, Maid-of-Honor. Being that this was a November wedding, jewel colors were picked for their gowns. Royal Blue for Lori, Emerald Green for Janet, and Fuchsia for Runi. Furry muffs, collars and hats complimented the winter theme. The girls loved their gowns and they truly looked as if they were royal ladies-in-waiting.
The “Best Man” was Keith’s long-time friend, Roger. He was quite handsome and had a great personality. Here is Keith and Roger goofing off, like guys do, before the wedding. Roger also gave a wonderful toast. I just wish I could remember what he said. 
The wedding checklist has tips on choosing Groomsmen. Since our wedding party was small, besides Roger, Keith’s and my brother were the other guys. We also did not have a Flower Girl or Ring Bearer. I can’t recall why, but we didn’t miss not having them. I was amused by the little caveats offered on the website regarding the little ones such as, “Crying or not making it all the way down the aisle,” and to “be sure to secure the rings to whatever they’re being carried in or on.” Good advice.   
Wedding requirements can be mind-boggling. So can trying to remember our wedding. To do so, I consulted my wedding album and was thrilled when I found the things pictured here to jar my memory, like the wedding invitations. Creamy card stock with a fancy script was sent to an every-growing guest list. The seven-part invites were assembled with care, and whoever had the best handwriting got the worthy job of addressing the envelopes.
The bridal shower invite came from ‘Hallmark’ and that task was handled by Lori, for the shower was held at Keith’s house. All of his large family and many relatives were there and we were overwhelmed. And to this very day, we still have and use some of those shower gifts, like the Westinghouse hand mixer and assorted mixing bowls. Now how practical can you get! 
Finding my wedding dress was an event onto itself. Not only did I save my wedding dress, I saved the original receipt for the gown. Yellowed with age but still legible, my mother bought my dress from Bramson, a high-end women’s fashion store located in Park Forest, IL in the Evergreen Plaza. My wedding gown was a Priscilla of Boston, designed by Priscilla Kidder, one of the most famous makers of wedding gowns in the US in the 1950s, 60s & 70s.  After coming to prominence in 1956 when she designed the bridesmaid gowns for Grace Kelly's wedding to Prince Ranier of Monaco, my mother needed no more convincing by the sales lady that this was the gown for me.
The dress was an elegant floor length A-Line with hi illusion neckline with seed pearls and beadwork, and many buttons down the back and long sheer sleeves. The very long fine net veil had a gorgeous headpiece of sea pearls and lace. I truly felt like a princess!
I did some research and found a near-like version of my dress purchased in 1968. Asking price was $720, originally $3,500. My mom paid $113.40 for the dress, veil and tax. Of course it was the previous year’s design, but I did not mind that. It was beautiful and I loved it.   
The wedding ceremony was held at St. Mary’s Church in Mokena, Illinois. It was a cold day in November, but I do not remember feeling cold as my dad walked me to the car to go to the church. The reception was held at the Prestwick Country Club in the neighboring town of Frankfort.
As I am half Italian on my mother’s side, and as it was a tradition at that time, most wedding receptions were hosted by the bride’s parents, therefore, our wedding had Italian food and
entertainment. Mostaccioli with sausage, Italian Cream Wedding cake and almond cookies. Often during the dinner, guests banged glasses with spoons to encourage the Bride and Groom to kiss several times. My Godfather was a consummated entertainer, singing and dancing all the good ole Italian songs. The wedding party lined up to do the Tarantella dance. There are many renditions of this dance but the music is the same. What I remember the most was having my veil stepped on a lot. But it was fun and exhausting.
Cutting the wedding cake was a special moment. It was a small cake but there were other desserts. Keith and I cut the cake together and stuffed a small piece it each other’s mouths, and then passed it out to the guests. I loved the top of the cake, and it has been saved all these years and has a special place in our family museum. The bell is yellowed, but the bride & groom look as lovely as they did 44 years ago.

Finally, the reception was coming to a close. As we said our goodbyes, we stepped out to a very cold night, the sky was absolutely brilliant with a full moon that had a ring around it. How fascinating! We were told by a guest that a ring around the moon means that our marriage is like the eternal ring, will always go around and around, like the wedding rings on our fingers.  What a lovely thought to have then and every time we see a ring around the moon, we both recall our wedding and how wonderful it was.
As you create your family museum, make sure you include whatever precious items you have from that time in your life. To see those things is like a gentle reminder and tells you how important was that moment in time.

Next Post:  Summertime Memories

Suggestion: If you do not have a Family Museum to display your wedding keepsakes, gather up what you have and put them together in a shadow box, such as the wedding invitation and photographs, and hang them on a wall. It does not matter how many things you saved or how big the venue is for your heirlooms. What matters is that you still have them, share them now, and pass them on to your family.        


Friday, June 20, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - First Date, the Proposal and Engagement Ring

Do you remember where you and your mate first met and where you went on your first date? Where did the proposal take place? Who picked out the engagement rings?

There are millions of stories told everyday about these topics. But where are the stories about the memories? In your head? In pictures? And where are the things you saved from these times? Most likely, the mementos and souvenirs have gone by the wayside, put in a box and long forgotten. How sad. However, many marriages end and the things that represented that union are gone, too. But for those who did keep some of those treasures, where are they now? Hopefully, this blog post will encourage you to seek the answer to those questions. And when and if you find any vestige, please put it in your family museum.

“Practice what you preach,” they say. I am just as guilty of not keeping a lot of things from those times. The one item that seemed to weather time-past storms is the top of our wedding cake. (I will address this feature of the bride blog later). As for the things that did get saved, it is truly beyond me how they were saved in the first place and long forgotten long ago. When I finally got around to gathering the family heirlooms to put in our museum did I come across that box that held those now few precious items. Of course, photographs always seem to be saved, probably because they are in some kind of album that has been sitting on a shelf or maybe a box. The two pictures here are from our first date. Keith picked me up in his Mustang and we went to the local A&W Root beer drive-in. Living in the country there was little to do for excitement. But we didn't care. We were free, single, and falling in love. It didn't matter where we went as long as we were together. 
Then came the Proposal.
It is unclear where the idea of proposing down on one knee originated. The ones noted are during religious ceremonies, entering a church, or kneel in reflection. No matter where the origin, a request for marriage while on bended knee is symbolic of the commitment of one’s own life to another person. The meaning is the symbolism of respect, commitment and honor for both people. Expected or surprised, the proposal is a revered event in marriage and life.

My proposal of marriage took place in my parent’s kitchen. How romantic. I was sitting down and Keith got down on his one knee and proposed. I think I started to cry. There was much weighing on this proposal because “we” were with child. As time was not available, the wedding plans began before the engagement ring was slipped onto my finger. With all our fears mingling together, we agreed to pick out the rings together when time allowed. And the waiting was worth every minute! We shopped together for our rings. I was working in Chicago and on a Friday evening after work, we went shopping. Keith bought our rings and while waiting for our dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant, Keith proposed again and put the ring on my finger. Now that’s romantic!  
Wow! The next day I felt like a Bride-to-be. What a powerful symbol is the Engagement Ring. I couldn’t believe my eyes every time I looked down at my left hand. And even more so when I showed it off.
Engagement rings date back to Roman times or further. But what many people probably do not realize is that the notion of a diamond ring was initially marketed to the masses in an advertising campaign in the late 1930s. In the United States, the popularity of diamond engagement rings declined after World War I, even more so after the onset of the Great Depression when the price of diamonds collapsed. At the same time, market research indicated that engagement rings were going out of style with the younger generation. In 1947 the slogan, "A Diamond is Forever," was introduced as a De Beers campaign that sought to persuade the consumer that an engagement ring is indispensable, and that a diamond is the only acceptable stone for an engagement ring. The campaign was very successful.

What is interesting is that given how much has changed over the decades — men now snoop on their girlfriends’ Pinterest boards for clues about what they really like and couples often shop together, because it is a purchase loaded with expectations persists. Mostly men admitted that they were concerned about appearances. Yet the most popular refrain is still going strong: She is going to wear it for the rest of her life.

No matter where, when or how, when a marriage is meant to be, it is meant to be. Those words were spoken by a wise woman, my mom. It was hard to believe her when my heart was breaking, but after I met Keith, I knew she spoke the truth.  

Next Post: Wedding Plans

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Here comes the Bride

I just read that if you got married on this past Saturday, June 14, 2014, you were not alone! Turns out it was the most popular day this year to marry. In fact, there were more than 26,000 couples that did. Read about it at
So, what does it take to become a bride and groom? Love, of course. However, there are many steps on the ladder to love and marriage and in keeping with the purpose of this Blog Post, everything written here is for preserving whatever memories and mementos you have to be displayed in your family museum. Let’s take those steps beginning with the Love Letter.
Is the art of the love letter dead or just dying? If more people knew about the great love letters of the past, maybe a few would take the trouble to put pen to paper and create something that the recipient will keep as a treasure and place in their family museum.
Throughout history, the love letter has allowed us to reveal our true feelings, keep close when far away from home and rekindle the flame when love is no longer new. For example, letters of Pliny the Younger offer a warmly human picture of private life in Rome circa AD100, particularly when writing to his adored wife Calpurnia: "You say that you are feeling my absence very much, and your only comfort when I am not there is to hold my writings in your hand and often put them in my place by your side... I too am always reading your letters, and returning to them again and again as if they were new to me – but this only fans the fire of my longing for you. If your letters are so dear to me, you can imagine how I delight in your company. Do write as often as you can, although you give me pleasure mingled with pain."
The Love Letter is the glue in the book of romance.
A love letter is a romantic way to express feelings of love. Whether delivered by hand, mail, or romantically left in a secret location, the letter may be anything from a short and simple message of love to a lengthy explanation of feelings. Love letters may move through a wide range of emotions - devotion, disappointment, grief and indignation, self-confidence, ambition, impatience, self-reproach and resignation. And don’t you despise those letters that instantly made the recipient aware of the letters purpose? Love can be “as transient as the clouds.”
The love letter continued to flourish in the first half of the twenty-first century. Before the wide use of telecommunications, letters were one of the few ways for a couple to remain in contact, particularly in wartime: when one of them was posted or stationed some distance from the other, the "being apart" often intensified emotions. There is a wonderful article in the Reader’s Digest Special Edition, World War II. On pages 64 & 65, “Finding His Joy” is about love letters.
In the second half of the century, with the coming of the permissive society and the instantaneous Information Age, the love letter became dissociated with love. Even in the electronic age, however, the humble love letter may possibly still play its part in life, if in new formats (as exemplified in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail); and on the Internet, where one can find numerous sites where people obtain advice on how to write a love letter. Sometimes letters are preferable to face-to-face contact because they can be written as the thoughts come to the author's mind. This may allow feelings to be more easily expressed than if the writer were in the beloved's presence. Further, expressing strong emotional feelings to paper or some other permanent form can be an expression within itself of desire and the importance of the beloved and the lover's emotions.

Perhaps any correspondence is a kind of love affair, while by contrast, a Twitter or Tweet, (called telegraphese; like the telegraph with its abbreviations and code words) is infectious. But the sign-offs such as, LOL! B cool B N touch, reads like a disinterested lover with an indistinctive attitude.   
As with any letter, a love letter could be written in any structure or style.

As letters became more popular as a means of communication, guides sprang up accordingly about just how one was to write a letter, what was proper, and what was out of the question.
Some stationary companies produce paper and envelopes specifically for love letters. Some of these are scented creating a whole new sensory experience in letter reading, though most people prefer to spray them with their own perfume. (Another movie typifying the use of perfume was in the scene from “Grease” where Marty sprays her love letter to her latest pen pal solider, its scent makes Sandy grimace.) Scenting a letter emphasizes in the receiver's mind the physical connection that occurred between them in this form of communication and thus may strengthen the overall impact of the letter.
My love letters are something to be desired! No stationary here. Just good old notebook paper. Says a lot about the guy, doesn’t it. And naturally, the guy wouldn’t scent his letters with his cologne. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on them, these three (Frank, Bill & Chuck) that I still have the letters from. And truthfully, I don’t think I had intended to keep any of them. As I had written before, my father kept everything. So perhaps in my haste to get rid of them, he found them, put them away, and when that day came along when I would find them, dad would probably smile and say, “See, Lizbit. I knew one day you would want to have these back.” Well, maybe and maybe not. So when I felt inclined to read them, I truly found out a lot about myself. And about relationships. Here are a few of them, all written during school days. The first one was from Frank. Being that I lived out in the country surrounded by farms, it should have not be the shock it was when he introduced himself to me in homeroom and told me he was a pig farmer. This first love lasted two years. Bill was the second love. After re-reading his letters, I realized the guy was nuts. His griped about how he was always board with school, with his friends, with his life. Glad that relationship broke up. Then came Chuck. I thought for sure this one I was going to marry, but did not. What heartache I had over him. Then all love letters ceased to be. It didn’t seem like the thing to do while dating. Phone calls were the paper, dating was the stamp. Of course, this time was well before the electronic age of communication. I couldn’t begin to imagine how these relationships would have developed. So . . .      

Is the love letter in danger of extinction? That depends. With so many people connected online, we need to put a little more effort in to making our emails creative, even romantic. You never know. We could be entering the rebirth of the love letter but in a new form. With that much history behind love in the written form, think about how would you preserve your e-love letters? Do you make a hard copy? Do you save it on disc? What about those texts, twitters and tweets? How to you save them? What form of recorded love will be passed down to the next generation? Any suggestions? However your letters are written, sent and saved, remember, they need not be fancy or poetic — just straight from the heart. - See more at:
Next Post: First Date, The Proposal and Engagement Ring