A Suitcase of Memories

“To live in lives we leave behind, is not to die”
Judith Baxter

I was recently looking back at some of the blogs I had written earlier and came across this one – My September Years written in September 2011.    One of the joys of blogging is the interaction between people from far and wide and I particularly like reading the comments some months later.

One such comment from my blogging pal Patti at A New Day Dawns was “You have a suitcase full of memories packed away, places I can’t even imagine visiting, Judith. Grandchildren are a wonderful treasure for our later years, aren’t they?”  And I started thinking that yes, we do keep our memories together and a suitcase is a great place to hold them.

Steamer Trunk

Many years ago I had a steamer trunk just like this.

But once you get to my age, that suitcase just has to be very big. just like this steamer trunk.  I have so many memories and I love to share them with my family and friends.  I started to write down my memories with the intention of having them bound into a book or books, for my grandchildren.  Several friends were interested and wanted to do the same thing, so I devised a programme for people wishing to keep their memories to pass on, and ran courses on this for a couple of years.  We all had fun and many made new friends after joining one of the courses.

Each course was limited to 8 people and ran for 6 weeks.  Participants were encouraged to write a memory a week and bring it to the meeting the following week to read out to the others.  And what memories people had.  There was lots of laughter and some tears.  At the end of each memory read there would be time for questions and comments (never during the reading) and then we would discover that another person in the group had much the same experience and memory.  It was fantastic to see these strangers at the beginning of the course, become firm friends by the end.

Memories book

At the end of the course, I encouraged everybody to write one memory a week.  In this way, allowing for holidays, they would have 50 memories in a year, quite enough to start a Memory Book for their families.

And here is one of my family’s favourite photos of Granma –

Me smoking

I promise I was smoking apple wood, on a lovely summer evening, having had dinner in a Bedouin’s tent in the desert.

“Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health.
But no one can ever take away your precious memories.”

Judith Baxter, blogger and friend
1938 –



15 responses to “A Suitcase of Memories

  1. What a great idea, to write a memory a week. There are so many things I wish I had asked my grandparents while they were here.
    Love the picture!


  2. You have inspired me to continue writing a family history which I started a couple of years ago. Maybe that memory a week would help me complete it. I wish I had asked my father so many things.


    • My thing was that a family history or even one’s life story was such a big thing whereas writing a memory is so much easier. As Zig Ziglar says :You can eat an elephant a bite at a time”. 🙂


  3. Thanks for the mention, Judith. A memory a week is a great idea! Maybe I’ll get back on track with my NaNoWriMo memoir project.


  4. Every year as a child I had a diary for christmas and started “keeping” it from January 1st, without fail by the end of January I’d given up. I’ve been blogging for well over a year now and it’s great to look back and see what I’ve been up to and what memories I’ve made. 🙂


  5. What a great idea Judith ~ that course would be such a wonderful contribution to Elder care! It’s so easy to feel dismissed, rather than respected as you get older but our experiences make us who we are. Sharing them benefits all the family and, most of all, ourselves! 🙂


    • I tried to get the local rest homes and retirement villages interested but without any success. the success I had was from posting details of the courses in various gathering places. and then of course, attendees told their friends and it grew. Thanks for your comment. 🙂


  6. Its such a good idea. I often look at people who are well into old age and think of the things they experienced first hand that we can only hear about through clippings. The old are one of our most neglected resources I feel


  7. What a fabulous idea! Purposeful memory gathering, since we all have a tendency to put it off ’til tomorrow.


  8. Pingback: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to… | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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