Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at these sites.
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/cindyswriting
- Twitter: @cindyswriting
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/cindyswriting
- Web: www.cindyswriting.com
Recording Memories for Thanksgiving
What I love about Thanksgiving is it’s not commercialized like other holidays. Chances are you don’t even decorate specifically for Thanksgiving. It’s the one day of the year that is set aside for spending time with family and giving thanks for our blessings.
Many people fill the time surrounding the meal with televised football or board games, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I have another suggestion. If you will have people from an earlier generation at your Thanksgiving table, take advantage of the opportunity because one year they won’t be there anymore and the chance will be lost. Ask them about their childhood, their parents and grandparents, the holiday traditions of a time long ago. Gather memories from all your guests, but especially the seniors.
Here are a few strategies you might want to employ:
Never has it been more convenient to get those stories and tales recorded. Most people have cell phones with video capability. You can also download an app just for recording audio–you know, like those tape recorders we had in the old days! Here is one in iTunes and here are some for Android. I’m not endorsing any, so look around and find the best voice recorder for you.
Hearing the stories about someone’s youth in his/her own voice is a treasure. Be sure to download the file to your computer and back it up. Remember to also record your own stories. Tell everyone you’ve invited to Thanksgiving dinner what you plan to do and just have fun. Chances are you’d be talking about these things anyway, so get them recorded. Just make sure everyone’s aware of what you’re doing. You might want to edit what you get later. Sometimes people say things they regret. Remember that Yogi Berra quote: I really didn’t say everything I said! Older people can be a product of the age they grew up in when there wasn’t as much political correctness, if you know what I mean.
It’s easy to forget when you’re gathered with folks and caught up in conversations. That’s why my cousin hired a photographer for our family reunion.
Share on Facebook/Pinterest/Tumblr…then the image will be forever, right? Some social media sites like Pinterest allow you to make private boards if you’d rather. And don’t forget to get in the picture yourself. (Isn’t everyone taking selfies these days?) When my sister passed away I was sad to discover that she’d managed to stay out of the way of cameras for most of her life.
Use Paper and Pencil
Technology fails often, doesn’t it? Take some notes, put out a guestbook, encourage folks to write things down. Everything that I have in my dad’s handwriting makes me feel connected to him even though he’s been in heaven for a few years now. We’ve definitely gotten away from letter writing in this society, but often people will write down their thoughts and emotions better than they would in person. Don’t miss that opportunity. Give each one a notebook and ask that they record memories, blessings, whatever they would like. Can’t see Uncle Albert doing that? Don’t pressure him. Let him tell his stories out loud if he’d rather. Just make sure the opportunity is there for those who would like to write something down.
Most of all enjoy the time together. Whether the people you gather with are related to you or are friends, take the time to learn more about them and what matters to them. Everyone has a story. Take the time to listen and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
by Cindy Thomson
The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment-they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.
But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie-and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.
You can buy Annie’s Stories at this link.