Tools and Included items in the Time Capsule

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Marybeth continues the writing journey:

“When I first started writing The Time Capsule Journal”, I kept an ongoing list of important things to remember in the front cover. I wanted the journal to be more than a step-by-step diary of our lives. “So boring,” Tim said of my early attempts. So I started thinking and I decided to change things up a bit.

I knew that to be successful, this journal had to be written by all of us. I know what you are thinking – unusual undertaking. But the time capsule was about all of us, so why not have all of us write about it. Our first step was to make lists of all that had happened during the week. We used my template from Tim’s journal as an example. One week’s events were: Maureen’s attempt at baking biscuits (Girl Scout Badge), T.J’s letters from college, making a new friend. Sometimes we just wrote the event and a word or phrase to describe it. I sometimes couldn’t resist writing a short poem or a snippet of a song that the event’s memory triggered. John drew a picture or two and my husband captured as many events as he could on his trusty camera.

One thing we did without telling the kids was to write a letter to each of them. We wrote about what they were like right now, how much we loved them and our wish for them to be happy in their future. We then folded the letters, slipped them into envelopes with their names on them and sealed the flaps.  ( I sincerely hope that if you ever decide to make a family time capsule, you will do this! We know it will be a rewarding experience for you, as it will be for us in 10 years’ time!)

Then we decided to expand our journal and our Time Capsule by including some of the following:

title of favorite songs, Game Nights, Top 10 Memories, Each child’s age, height and weight, dreams of the future, current nickname, best friends, piece of wisdom to their future self, what a perfect day looked like.

In addition to the writing material, we included pictures of the house and their rooms, price list of things they liked to eat (fast food also), the front page of the local newspaper.

By now, the small box we had chosen was over-flowing so we searched around the house for a new one. We debated about getting 5 boxes for each of the children, but in the end decided on one. But the Maroney Time Capsule still had to be found and decorated. More on that project next week.”  M.B.

This is getting exciting!

‘Til next week,



Word Ghosts and moments

Today’s little moments become tomorrow’s precious memories.

Making a Memory Journal

Dear Fellow Journals,

Unlike a regular journal, the Memory Journal relies on the material you must gather – the photos, documents etc. The key to this is to keep it simple. Designate a box or file folder for each memory “category” you are going to write about. The categories can be childhood memories, school, parents etc. I would use plastic page protectors for the documents.

There are plenty of planners out in the market that you can use along with scrapbooks to document your memories. Once I started doing this, it became addictive and I found lots of post-it notes with memory prompts that I added to each box. The trick is to begin with one category at a time. Some page layouts will follow in the next post.

‘Til then,


Memory Journal Prompts

Dear Fellow Journalers,

In preparing a memory journal at first glance it seems like an impossible task but my advice is to take it in pieces. You could start with your childhood and answer the following questions (prompts):

  •      What was your favorite toy?
  •      Did you ever get lost? Who found you?
  •      As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  •      What was your favorite subject in school?
  •      Did you have a favorite teacher?
  •      Do you remember any instances that made you extremely happy or scared?
  •      What was you favorite tv show?
  •      What books did you read over and over again?

If you want to delve into your parents’ lives, begin by finding old photos and documents such as birth certificates, old report cards, letters, pictures. Often letters can be the door to your understanding of how and why your parents acted and thought. Some possible questions to ponder: did you have family traditions? What did you do on Sundays? Write down 3 of your father’s favorite movies, songs, sports, time of year, meals. Was there anything noteworthy of your mother’s upbringing – for instance, she grew up in the Depression, or worked in a factory during WWII.

You could create lists of: places you have traveled to, the people you admire, your favorite movies, your favorite books (and why) your goals.

There are many, many prompts available for you to choose from so as I’ve stated before, take the journey of remembrance slowly, savoring each moment and tell it to your family and friends so they can share your legacy.

‘Til then,


P.S. Books I have read about discovering family through letters include “Against Wind and Tide” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“The Diary” by Eileen Goudge

“One Lavender Ribbon” by Heather Burch

Memory Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Memories, “they say”, can never be taken from you, but the intricacies of the memory itself can fade. Do you really remember all the important details people’s names, the little things that happened or even the big experiences, the way you felt? The only way to remember is to write things down.

A Life worth living is worth recording.

     Now you may think that crafting a memory journal will be tedious and you see a giant headache in your future. But think of it this way, you’ll re-live and reevaluate events, relationships and turning points in your life. With perspectives that can only be gained by living forward, reflecting backwards you’ll re-examine your life and view the challenges and the discovery of who you are now. You are an important part of your friends and family lives and the portrait of you gives these important people a greater understanding and appreciation of the what’s and why’s and how’s of you.

   If you’re of a particular age, you might also be one of the last people alive with memories of your grandparents and perhaps even your parents. How many times have you heard someone say “I wish I knew more about my Dad” or ” I came from an estranged family. I wish I knew more about my Grandparents – did I look like them? Where did they come from?”

  You also are an eyewitness to historical events. Your memories, experiences and perspective about events that happened all around you add to the collective knowledge of our past. I always like viewing TV shows about historical events in which the narrator or the scene portrays little known events. You know the ones I mean – the events not recorded in history books. The story about a man who missed the train because he drove his child to school because his son missed the bus and the man was NOT at the World Trade Center when it was attacked or the people in the crowd who were cheering the marathon runners in Boston MA – there are hundreds of stories like that memories locked up in people’s minds and hearts.  On a personal note, I remember watching the moon space landing and the day Kennedy was shot. ( I know I am dating myself!)  I remember my wedding day, the day our son was born, holding my newborn granddaughter for the first time, the first time I rode a horse, went on a train trip, saw Peter Pan with Mary Martin in NYC, swam in the ocean – big and small things that make up my life.

     These and more reasons propelled me to write a memory journal if not for me than for the generations of family members who come after.

‘Til then,



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