Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, June 1, 2012

Recording Life


You call it graffiti. I call it family history!

First, a little background . . .
I have to admit that I think it’s cute when kids write on the walls.
Okay, yes. I’m weird.
When my kids wrote on the walls, I usually accredited and dated it.
It was a record of their life.
We were living in a small house, built by my Husby, and set on a cinder block basement.
Also built by my Husby.
It was a temporary dwelling that would one day be our shop/cold-storage.
Once the real house he was building was finished.
The cinder block walls were bare and . . . grey.
Not pretty.
But as it was a temporary set-up, we endured.
Our eldest son, Mark had other ideas.
Okay, on to my story . . .
Mark was learning how to write his name.
Actually, he was getting pretty good at it.
M. A. R. K.
The trouble it is usually looked like this: K. R. A. M.
But he wasn’t even three yet, so we were pretty impressed.
We found his name scrawled everywhere.
On papers.
Furniture.
The piano.
But there was one place he most preferred.
The one place that seemed to get him the most ‘press’.
The walls.
Mark had been sitting on my bed in the cinder block basement, drawing.
I had left him happily engrossed while I went to change his baby brother’s diaper.
When I came back, the word, KRAM had been neatly inscribed on the cinder blocks.
In purple felt.
He had even followed the lines.
I looked at it.
Then at the suddenly-anxious little boy seated beneath it.
“Look at that!” I said.
He looked, then studiously turned back to his papers and continued to draw.
“Who did that?” I asked.
Again he looked.
Finally he shrugged. “Erik,” he said.
I glanced at six-month old Erik in my arms. “Erik?”
“Yup. Erik.”
“Erik wrote ‘Mark’ on the wall.”
“Yup.”
“Erik’s pretty clever.”
“Yup.”
Working on telling the truth remained.
But thirty-plus years later, K.R.A.M. is still written there.
Clearly.
Moving ahead . . .
When Mark’s eldest daughter Megan was two, she wrote on my wall.
He got a pen and put her name and the date beside it.
For posterity.
(Who says kids aren’t watching us?)
But eventually, the wall was painted and the precious record lost.
We learned something.
If you or your kids are going to chronicle your lives, make sure you do it on something that’s going to last.
Because it’s not just what you record.
But also how you record it.
So far, cinder block seems to be your best bet.

16 comments:

  1. Aw that's so nice and so true.
    Nice memory :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LL! Something we can all relate to . . .

      Delete
  2. This is great!

    It makes me think of my son, Marcus... learning to spell his name he would say "C U S."
    and it kind of fit him :)

    New follower from NOBH!
    Emily
    www.weakandloved.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome, Emily! Our Mark often got 'Marcus'! Isn't it cute when they start to pronounce/mispronounce things?! :)

      Delete
  3. Some folks record their kids heights on a door frame. When we moved in here we painted over the last folks records of their kids growth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope they got a copy before they left! We did some remodelling and I took a template off the doorframe before I'd let my Husby paint over it. then I reinstalled everything! Some things are meant to last!!!

      Delete
  4. You know, down in Whitefish and Kalispel, MT, there are some saloon/eateries (Moose's, The Place, The Bierstube) where the walls are rough boards, the table tops and the bars are simply made of boards where the patrons are encouraged to carve their initials, write slogans or any graffiti they can think of. Several times a year the staff simply varnishes over the etchings thus immortalizing the words beneath. I've often thought I should build a rec room with that theme; we wouldn't need a guest book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what fun! and Unique! As long as they don't get offensive. I guess that would be the only drawback! I've read enough toilet shower cubicles to know what's possible . . . :)

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  5. Your post got me thinking about all the 'walls' my children put their mark on and how I wish now that I hadn't washed their fingerprints, doodles, etc. out. Maybe I'll have learned by the time I have grandchildren that their works of art/creativity needs to be kept and enjoyed! Thanks Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It takes all of us a while, Kelly! I think I just got lazier. And used it as an excuse to never wash my walls! :)

      Delete
  6. Diane, what do you mean, you painted over K.R.A.M? Oh my goodness, why didn't someone paint around it? Aw, I'm so sad now! I wish I had allowed my children to write on the walls. However, the house we lived in wasn't our own and I knew the owner would not be too pleased. I still remember their first writing attempts. Reading this post, I was reminded of the Son's first drawings and the way The Daughter drew a heart under her name. I'm still chuckling over Mark blaming Erik, by the way! Go, Mark! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No,no, no, Bella. I would never paint over the KRAM. It's still there to this day. The wall where my granddaughter put her little drawing ended up getting painted. I was sad to lose her little squiggle, but it wasn't quite the same at losing the KRAM would have been! :) their little writings and drawing are so precious!

      Delete
  7. What a great story! I remember when I first started doing a morning devotion. It was a big deal to me and I got a beautiful red leather journal in which to record all the wonderful conversations God and I were going to have. Shortly after I got it, my second son, E-baby (then 3) took a black ink pen and wrote his name in all capital letters on the front page. I wish I could say that I complimented him on his penmanship and intelligence in writing his name so clearly and so well at only 3. Sadly, I think I got upset and lectured him. For a few minutes. Then I hugged him and dated the page. I decided that name was the most precious thing about my new journal. Thank you for sharing your story. And for linking up with NOBH. Love your fellow crew member, who is now smiling thanks to you . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I admit that my first reaction was always "Ahhhhh!" but, like you, I realized that what I was looking at was 'history' on my walls! Thank you for your wonderful story! I can think of no better first page for a scripture study journal than your son's autograph!

      Delete
  8. Its a lovely story. I recall my eldest drew on her first picture of a person on her potty with a felt tip, so I made sure I took a picture of it; wanted to keep the memory. My youngest did hers on a piece of paper so I've kept that too. Its lovely them to see the things mine bring home from school and you can see the progress they are making.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So clever of you to take that picture. I didn't think of that . . . Unfortunately, many of my children's first masterpieces were sacrificed to the cleaning gods because we were renters. :( I got wiser! I was going through a file of my eldest son's drawing, from the very earliest to the present. Wow!!! Thank you for visiting!

      Delete

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