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Four Life Lessons from the Shoebox

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Most of us have printed photos from our childhood sitting in shoeboxes or old albums somewhere. Among those photos are stories of our childhood…stories we probably want to share with our children as well the life lessons we’ve learned along the way.

To be honest, I haven’t really recorded much in the way of my own personal history for my family, and I feel like I should do that sooner rather than later. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring…and I really want to make sure my children have a sense of who I was when I was young, that I went through the same types of things as them, and that as much as things change, they do remain very much the same. There are some important life lessons in the stories among the photos in your shoeboxes!

There is nothing like the carefree moments of childhood.

All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time.  And we go back to those moments and think, This is when I became myself. ~Rita Dove 

When I was young, the world felt like one big adventure. We ran around in groups with other kids from our neighborhoods, and many times our parents had no idea where we were. We didn’t worry about internet predators because there was no internet. There were no video games either. There were board games and tree houses and bicycles that we rode all over the place. In many ways, the world was a much simpler place.

Some of my fondest memories involved a roller skating rink near our house. To get there, we had to cross a busy street and a desert lot where there were big lizards, abandoned cars, and huge holes in the ground, which we played in. I think the adventure of getting there was why it was so much fun.

We had a really cool yard, with a swimming pool, a tree house and horse stables. We didn’t have horses, but the stables were a great place to play hide and seek and other games. I had a pretty active imagination and could entertain myself for hours on end. I used to climb from the tree house to one of the tree branches and jump to the ground from there. I’m surprised I never broke anything. Then again, it probably wasn’t as high up as I remember! And the swimming pool? I remember feeling like the luckiest kid ever. I practically lived in it in the summertime!

Tortoise Scan copy 2Enjoy the everyday moments.

“Even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder.” ~Tierney Gearon

One of my favorite memories growing up involved the two desert tortoises that we had when we lived in Arizona. They were fascinating to me. One morning we were cleaning up around the yard, when my mother started shrieking that a rock was moving! As it turned out, it wasn’t a moving rock, but a moving BABY TORTOISE! We had baby tortoises all over our yard! They were the cutest little creatures, smaller than the palm of your hand. We spent the rest of the morning searching for them…what a magical day that was! I wish we had a picture of the babies, but so far we’ve been unable to find one.

Treasure good friends. Those that stay in your life are there for a reason.

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. ~Muhammad Ali

In 4th grade I had a great group of friends. Boys and girls. I would often play soccer with the boys at recess. (I must have been quite a sight when I got CameraAwesomePhotohome…my mom made me wear dresses and nice shoes to school, and I was running around playing soccer in them). My closest friends though were girls, and while I don’t remember all of their names, I do remember a few. Betsy Jo. Susie. And of course, Kara, who I still keep in touch with! Now we mainly stay in contact via Facebook instead of letters, but our friendship has remained all these years. Here’s a picture of Kara and I at a slumber party at my house. (Isn’t that a lovely jumpsuit I am wearing?!)

CameraAwesomePhotoOne of my closest friends to this day I met in 7th grade.  I went to school with Regina until my junior year, when we moved to Nevada. She wrote in my yearbook that she would miss me, but that she wouldn’t write. True to form, I hardly heard from her at all until my senior year when she called long distance (it was a big deal back then to call long distance). I ended up going to the same college as her, and roomed with her for 3 of the 4 years. I love her like a sister. We have a 30+ year history. Despite the fact that we now live across the country from one another, we will always be friends. My other college roommate is also like a sister. Our history is a bit shorter…a mere 20+ years…but the sisterhood is the same. I can pick up the phone anytime, even if I haven’t talked to her in months, and nothing has changed.  Bonds like these are to be treasured.

What seems hopelessly unbearable now will mean nothing 5 or 10 years from now.

Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself. ~Harvey Fierstein

My family moved quite a bit during my childhood. My life in Arizona was idyllic…my world pretty much fell apart when we moved to Colorado. My last few years of elementary school, I struggled with fitting in and making friends. I was picked on by some of my classmates, ignored by others, even pushed out of a group of friends because one girl decided I had to go. I have some bad memories of those few years. Being a kid can be tough. But things get better. What seemed so unbearable back then means nothing to my life now.

To this day, all the photos of my childhood stories and the life lessons that go along with them are still tucked away at my parents’ house on the other side of the country. The next time we visit, I’ll be bringing my Flip Pal and I’ll be scanning all those childhood memories to bring home with me! In case you’re wondering, a Flip-Pal is a small lightweight portable scanner, easily tucked into your luggage! You can scan photos in albums and even through the glass in frames, quickly and easily. Those photos in my parents’ albums hold the key to my past…they’re my personal history. I’d like to share them with my children.

Have you thought about what stories and life lessons you’d like to share with your children about your childhood?


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Friday 24th of May 2013

Flipal sounds like something I need. I have soo many old pictures. Lots of memories some good some bad, I am thankful for them all. I love your blog. Subscribing ;-)

Michelle Nahom

Wednesday 29th of May 2013

It's a pretty handy little scanner, especially if you've got photos in albums or in frames that you can't take out! It's amazing how much reminscing you can do with old photos! I'm really glad you are enjoying my blog!

Tell Another Mom

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

What great lessons to live by. Sometimes we need reminders of these simple things in life!! Photo albums are such a great way to reminisce on such awesome memories.

Michelle Nahom

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

It's all about the stories for me! I love being able to share those with my family! Photo books ARE such a great way to reminisce!


Thursday 23rd of May 2013

Michelle, so many times I am struck by how much we think alike when it comes to preserving history through photographs. I LOVE old photographs! And yet, once again, reading one of your posts has caused me to realize that there are so few posts of me, even as a child! Sometimes I wish I could turn back time and correct that. Yes, I know I need to get in front of the camera more now...but dang it is so hard for me!!

Michelle Nahom

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

We were meant to be blog friends! :) Even if you don't have a lot of photos, you can still preserve the stories! I am trying to gather stories to go with old heritage photos we have...I think its important to preserve even if you the story doesn't match up to the photo. It's still the story of an ancestor's history. We can do the same thing for ourselves. But what a great thing to be able to pass down to our kids!

Janine Huldie

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

Michelle, your childhood sounded similar to mine in that fact that I lived outdoors in the summertime and we too never feared or worried about much in the way of predators. I guess a different time for sure. Hope to share a bit of it with my girls as they are growing up and they do know I was young once and can understand where they are coming from. Thanks for hosting this linkup and just so happy to join in the fun!!

Michelle Nahom

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

It really is a different time, but I try so hard to give my kids freedoms when I can as I want them to know how to handle themselves when they do leave the nest. But they are older...and it is much easier to grant them independence than it was when they were younger. It's still hard sometimes a parent you worry constantly, as you know...


Tuesday 14th of May 2013

Beautiful lessons learned, and I love the quotation you include with each one. I love looking at my parents' old photo albums, and the stories behind them, and reminiscing about my past by looking at family ones after my sister and I came along. I think storytelling is such an important art that we need to pass on to the next generation. Happy belated SITS day!

Michelle Nahom

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

Thanks Bev! Those photos are truly our family history! I love looking back, don't you?!