Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Memory Conversation Starter

Last year, I gave my then 77 year old mother a gift subscription to Reminisce magazine, published by Reiman Publications ( It's a magazine where subcribers submit articles, photos, recipes and share memories of growing up and raising families during the 1920s, 30s, 40, 50s and even the early 1960s. I thought Mom would enjoy reading these strolls down memory lane.

Mom and Me, Christmas 1959

Well, the magazine was a big hit! Not only did she enjoy it, but as she would page through each new issue, Mom would share stories of her and her siblings from when they were growing up. This was something Mom never really discussed over the years - she didn't think it was that interesting to anyone else. Mom was one of 10 siblings that survived infancy (although one of those 10, a younger brother, drowned when he was just shy of turning five years old) She had one older sister and the  rest of the family were boys. All but one of the brothers were younger than her. Why Mom thought that wasn't interesting to anyone else is beyond me. Grandma never allowed any of the children out alone, whether playing, walking to school, running errands or dating. They always had to have at least one sibling with them, no matter how old they were.  She told of when she was dating a local farm boy, she had to take two of her youngest brothers with her when she would visit the farm to see her boyfriend. TOver time the younger boys became close to that family, so even when Mom broke up with the boyfriend, her brothers still kept in touch for many years.

Mom, who was from Upstate NY, told about going to two funerals for her in the winter when she passed and another in the spring when the ground was thawed enough that her grandma could be buried.

She told of wearing hand me downs and of how her grandmother had taught her to sew clothes. (Mom is a talented seamstress, I've never had the knack). Of how her brothers took a portrait of her and would throw darts at it when they were mad at her. Of her wedding portrait that was taken before the ceremony and posed in front of their home. Unseen by anyone until later, under the raised porch were her two youngest brothers dressed in their cowboy hats and aiming their toy six shooters at her.  It made her so mad then, but now it makes everyone laugh, including her brothers who are retired now.

All kinds of snippets came spilling out.

If you are looking for a conversation starter with older family members, I would recommend Reminsice magazine as just the thing to get old memories stirring. And it makes a fine Christmas gift for the person who doesn't want any more "dustables" or hand cream.

(Disclosure: I have no connection to Reminisce or to Reiman Publications. I'm just sharing a tip that worked for me.)

Happy Reminiscing!


  1. Thanks for the recommendation! Love the stories, especially about the wedding picture.

  2. Sewing talent must skip some generations; my mother and grandmother had it, I don't. I also love the wedding picture story.

  3. What a darling photo of you and your mother. Just love it.