Tag Archives: scrapbook

Scrapbooking as therapy

I’ve mentioned before how I started a scrapbook to organize and protect all of my father’s old photos, documents, and newspaper clippings . The project began with a rational purpose but I found myself enjoying the process. While scrapbooking is sometimes mocked, it’s really a creative process that allows you to tell the story of a family member.

I finished the scrapbook for my father, and now am working on one for my mother. I have found the process to be cathartic and therapeutic.

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As we move into the digital age, scrapbooks in physical form will probably become passé, replaced by highly efficient, customized digital renditions. But for those of us documenting the lives of loved ones from past generations, scrapbooks are treasured keepsakes.

More scrapbook photos can be seen in this Google photo album.

Do you scrapbook? I would love to hear about your experiences.



Filed under Memories

Dad says: ‘The devil is having a ball’

This weekend, I worked on getting the Dad portion of a family scrapbook completed. I’m not necessarily the scrapbooking type, but I wanted to make sure some of the more fragile documents and photos from my dad’s life had a safe home.

I also wanted to have all of my dad’s published letters to the editor in one collection. I ended up finding more than 40 letters, and I finally found the rant against cats that had cat lovers all over Los Angeles writing nasty replies to my dad! It even prompted one of the newspaper’s columnists to write an entire column about the ruckus Dad’s letter caused, bemoaning the fact that people get upset over the silliest things, and ignore the real problems of the world.

Dad devil ball letter

Does that sound familiar? Not much has changed since 1986.

I’ll post the cat debacle soon, but this letter about the “devil having a ball” struck me also because things have not changed. I’m not sure of the date, but because of the town name on it, it would have had to have been written in the late 1970’s to 1980’s time frame.

My dad was the pessimistic type, but I think he genuinely wanted to see good triumph over evil, but was having a hard time imagining that when he wrote this letter. He had his Catholic faith to help him sort things out, but you can substitute out more current wars and areas of strife with some of the ones my dad mentions in his letter and see that things haven’t changed much.

Dad says “man hasn’t progressed much since his cave-dwelling days.” While man has invented and conquered much, as far as human nature goes, Dad may have a point. Perhaps there is comfort in knowing that hard times filled with hopelessness have happened before and will happen again, but peace and prosperity (not just financial) have also come and gone. For those who like to believe that life moves in cycles, the devil is bound to stop having so much fun at some point.

At least we can hope.

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Dad: ‘TV is for my dog’

One of the great treasures I came across as I was doing one of the final sweeps of my parents’ condo after Mom passed was the discovery of a scrapbook.

Dad didn’t seem to be the scrapbooking type, but I can only assume he was the one who collected his letters to the editors of various newspapers across the country. Perhaps Mom collected them, but some of these letters go back to well before my parents met. At any rate, it’s a neat collection, albeit only half-full.

Most of my father’s letters were very serious in nature, mainly about the conflict in Ireland during the 1960s and 1970s, the Vietnam War and crime. But my dad did have a good sense of humor.


He wrote one letter titled, “TV Is for My Dog.” In it, he bemoans America’s obsession with television programming, an ailment he nicknames “TVitis.” Dad writes that he dreads going to work on Mondays because  everyone will be talking about the weekend’s TV programming, like the Ed Sullivan Show or Candid Camera, and all of that bores him to tears.

Dad proudly declares that he doesn’t watch TV, and only listens to the radio and reads books. Dad says he only turns on the TV for his dog, who likes to watch Lassie.

Of course, my dad eventually did give in to the TV bug, and ended up enjoying quite a bit of television, from The Three Stooges to The Twilight Zone and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

But my favorite line is about the dog. Dad never had a dog, but it’s still a funny line.

If watching less television was one of your new year resolutions, my dad would approve.


Filed under Memories