Make a Memory, Make a Book
I can still picture the look on my mom’s face as she opened the first page. Staring back at her was her father’s handwriting, as though he’d signed it himself, his named sprawled across the page in cursive. She couldn’t look at me yet, just staring at the script, eyes welling.
My grandpa passed away in July of 2017, so when our family beach vacation rolled around just a month later, it was hard not to feel his absence. His illness had prevented him from spending much time down the shore in recent years, but his mannerisms were inside all of us - his deep laugh in my uncle, his hugs in my aunt, biting humor shared by my mother. His presence was like an aura with nothing tangible to embody it. I knew we needed something to ground ourselves.
So, I made a book.
I spent hours looking through archives of scanned memories. I worked backwards, from his time with grand-kids to my uncle’s track & field tournaments, back to his first wedding and, before that, his days in the U.S. Navy. We digitized his military papers & his birth certificate. It was all there. It would never be enough, but it was him.
Back to the moment: My mother looked up at me. And, through the tears in her eyes, she started to laugh. Like, one of those big laughs, the infectious kind that makes everyone around them smile, too. And then she started talking.
Each picture inspired another story, things I never knew about my grandpa. She told me about the time he caught her shoplifting, how he took her to the hospital after she punched through a glass window, how he never had a bad word to say about someone unless they were disrespectful to their parents. The more we talked, the less empty the space felt. So, we just kept turning the pages, in the hopes that they’d fill the space completely.
Anyone can tell a story. Anyone can take a photo. But that’s what makes photo books the ultimate gift: they take the best of both worlds and combine them. It doesn’t have to be hard for it to be meaningful.
We are the memory makers. It’s what we do, as humans. We spend our whole lives forming connections, making choices, all to be remembered. And that’s where FOREVER comes in. Here, we’re not just the memory makers: we’re the memory keepers. And you can be, too.
Make a book for National Make-A-Book Day, May 9. Stay tuned for news on print savings! Your memories are the best gift.