Scrapbooking and the Art of ‘The Guilt’
I'm not sure at what point during our mom's adventures in motherhood, she decided her kids should have a scrapbook of something. And back then, scrapbooking was not the art it has become today. There wasn't any special lettering, no stickers, ribbons or buttons, no artsy-craftsy nothing!
You bought a scrapbook and filled it with newspaper and magazine articles, pictures and other memorabilia which related to your chosen subject. For my older sister, Carmela, that meant the space program, primarily because our mom and dad were very interested in it and it was a hot topic during the race to the moon.
I have no recollection of my younger sister Carolyn even having one. I think Mom had given up by the time she arrived. Lucky her!
My subject was animals, because I love them. So my huge, green leatherette book was a mostly messy compilation of animals, wild and domestic, leaning heavily toward dogs, cats, pandas and horses. It started out as great fun and devolved into a chore when Mom started nagging about it.
I guess it wasn't even really nagging, it was something we call "The Guilt". She'd look at me sadly while uttering phrases like, "Patricia Jeanne, you haven't touched your scrapbook for weeks, I don't know why you started it, if you're not going to keep up with it! It's such a shame." She'd shake her head dejectedly and walk away.
Anyone with Italian or Irish heritage knows exactly what and how effective “the guilt” is. So I'd make an effort for awhile and then lapse once again. I eventually stopped maintaining it at all and used it more like a file folder, into which I'd throw pictures I would occasionally still collect.
Years later the big green scrapbook was lost in what I refer to as the “Great Flood of '94”. The basement of the home I was living in flooded after the water heater exploded. The basement drain was non-functioning and the water was easily ankle deep. My parents, being the packrats that they were lost tons of valuables, as did I.
Not the least of which was a neglected scrapbook, which more than anything, reminded me of two great loves in my life; my mom and of course animals.