Last week, I started reading The Story of Ping to my 7-year-old daughter, Rosie.
I have a new copy, but I remembered seeing an older copy in some of Mom's old book boxes so I quickly searched for the book and came up with this old and tattered copy of the beloved book.
A quick turn of the cover and I was automatically flooded with memories - there in the corner was an inscription - To Calvin Leckrone Jr., from Uncle Fred and Aunt Mary, Christmas 1936
Calvin Leckrone Junior was my uncle. I knew him as my "Bachelor" Uncle and he lived in the home with me when I was growing up. How special it was for me to discover that this book had belonged to him when he was a little boy, just about the age Rosie is now.
Aunt Mary was my Great Aunt, and I remember her as being very smart with a wicked sense of humor. She was always doing interesting things even into her golden years. She found our family tree all the way back to Germany - in the days before Ancestry. com or even the internet! and she published a book about it too!
Here she is on her wedding day to Uncle Fred.
I suppose a lot of people would toss this book out now because it is so old, and definitely shows signs of wear, but because it is signed, I will treasure it forever AND teach my children to do the same by telling them stories and sharing all that I know about the people, their family members now deceased, involved in the giving and receiving of this Christmas gift so long ago!
Dear Aunt Mary - how clever was she to assure that we wouldn't forget her! And she did it in a very simple yet meaningful way - she bought a great book (hard cover), and then wrote the name of the recipient and her name, with the year and the event. Those simple things and then voila - a keepsake is born.
The first step, is to pick out a great book.
Here are some suggestions for older kids.
Literature ideas for boys
Melissa Wiley's book recommendations.
For the Love of Literature- PDF
In the past I myself have given away a set of Little House Books, and also prayer books for birthdays and Christmas presents.
The second part is to simply get a good pen in black or blue ink (but I think black lasts longer and looks nicer) and write your inscription on the inside cover. I have found that I have to plan it out a little bit before I write it out. This may take away from the "value" of the book on one hand. But that's not the kind of "value" I am interested in building anyway! The value of this little book that belonged to my uncle as a little boy from my great aunt is rich in family history, sentiment, and love.