I can’t remember when my mother began filling a desk drawer with my ancestors’ handwritten receipts and letters, her own scribbled notes and old pictures, and other odds and ends to jog her memory, but I do remember that she considered the contents of that drawer our national treasure.
Roots 1818-1982. Struggles of our Ancestors & Trujillo’s First Settlers from Conejos to Archuleta County in Colorado, she titled the book when she finally assembled the contents onto the adhesive pages of a photo album. All this happened back in the day before anyone knew that this particular type of photo album is the worst thing ever invented when it comes to storing pictures. Thankfully, my sister Annette had the sense to scan the book to preserve the contents in their original form.
My mother wrote a very interesting story and we continue to refer to it whenever anyone needs to know when, why or how my family ended up fifteen miles south of Pagosa Springs, Colorado in a little hamlet called Trujillo, or how we’re related to the Martinez and Gomez families of Gobernador, New Mexico. And even if we don’t want to know anything and are simply reading it for pleasure, wherever we are, we can still hear her voice and see the twinkle in her eye when she makes us laugh. We treasure the memory.
The day will come when your children will want to read about their national treasure, too, in a way that only you can tell the story. Start collecting your artifacts and start writing today.
For many years, I jumped out of bed at four in the morning in order to have time to write. I could never write after work or at night. By the time I made dinner, cleaned the kitchen and washed a couple of loads of laundry, I was too tired to even contemplate doing one more thing.
But the early morning time was different. Refreshed, I filled many pages in my journals and in my documents folder on my desktop computer. Some pages were filled with bittersweet memories of my youth and others were filled with sections of a book that never really made it past the 15th chapter. Some pages were filled with human-interest stories for newspaper columns and others were filled with the trials and tribulations of daily life. And some pages were simply filled with doodles, thoughts and ideas. But I smiled and laughed and cried through it all and watched others do the same thing, too. I wrote, and shared, a lot. People liked my writing because they could relate.
But then my writing got sidelined by never-ending work, family matters, new grandchildren, and–Oh Lord, of all things–that damned-addicting, online bulletin board Pinterest. So, before I knew it, the flow of words that once coursed through my brain uninhibited by praise or criticism slowed down to a trickle. And, since I’m not a journalist or author by trade, and there wasn’t a deadline to make my fingers reach for a pen or keyboard to open the spigot again, almost a decade passed by unrecorded.
It’s funny in a not ha-ha type of way that now it takes a deadline to motivate me, but that’s what it took to get me up at four in the morning for the last five days. I simply asked a friend to read my first draft and said I would have it finished by the end of day. It also helped that I read a quote last week that made me pause in thought, “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts,” says Anne Lamott, “You need to start somewhere.”
Start somewhere, indeed.
This was my first experience with adding watermarks to a photo using an app. I had just purchased my first smartphone and, suddenly, everything I ever wanted to do to a picture was available at my fingertips. I still didn’t know how to add my own signature, so I used the app font.
I love this picture and everything that it represents. It’s my “Welcome Home” landmark. 30 more miles and I’ll be home.