My Dad, or “Pap” as I called him, handed me a photograph one day and asked, “Do you know who this is? I didn’t; however, there was a certain familiarity about the man in the picture that was intriguing to me and haunting at the same time . . . the way he held himself, the tilt of his head, the shape of his jaw. And those hands . . . why, they looked just like my hands.
“This is your great Grandfather, William Riley Littleton,” Pap said.
It was not just the fact that I never knew him personally that bothered me; but the fact that even though his DNA courses through my veins, I didn’t know one thing about him . . . what he did, what he thought, what his life was like, who he was; and neither did my Dad.
Had that photograph come to me with a neatly-tied little box of daily journals hand written by him, I would have treasured them more than words can say. To know his thoughts, his “things to do” on a daily basis, his good days, his bad days . . . I would just love to know. If you’ve ever delved deeply into family genealogy, you find yourself even wondering what your ancestors had for breakfast.
But all I have is a photograph.
Every now and then I have to stop and ask myself, “With all the good in this day of modern technology, what are we giving up?” There are few hand-written letters being sent or accounts of day-to-day activities being recorded in note pads and journals. All we have are emails and postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, which we know will be gone in the twinkling of an eye and with a click of the delete key. All of this has motivated me to create a system not only for making your day-to-day life easier, but to preserve it for posterity.
A daily journal is part of my everyday life. It’s always in my pocket. I make notes. I make sketches of new product ideas. I jot down people’s names or things I want to remember. And, I file those journals away. Maybe someday they will be important to someone in my family. Family heritage is the glue that holds our lives together. I encourage you to create heirlooms for the generations to come in your family in the form of hand-written letters and journal entries.
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