January 16, 2015

Organizational Project Part 2 - Family Diaries

A few days ago I began my plan to sort, organize and digitize my family photos.  I ended up ordering archival boxes and sleeves from a company called GetSmartProducts. A friend in Colorado used them and was satisified and since it is difficult to find an online company that will ship such items to Canada, I took the leap. 

Storage Boxes from pfile.com
Although the items will be some time reaching me, I was impressed when the company phoned me to say they were out of stock on some items. I had a choice - they would ship as the items were available, or hold until they could send as one shipment.

Since it looks like it will be 4 to 6 weeks before my items arrive, I went on to my next organizational project which was sorting my mother's trip diaries, scanning them and sharing them with other family members.

Let me explain first that my mother began going on small trips the year she retired at age 55. She always was an adventurer. At age 65 she took flying lessons, and built an ultra-light with her partner. Then just before her 80th birthday she decided she was going to embark on some adventures. Her first big trip was to Australia where she backpacked around with only a small Barbie Doll backpack she picked up at a local Wal-Mart store in Canada. 

I compiled, as best I could, a list of her various trips and the years she took them. She usually travelled alone as she preferred not having to consult with anyone else about what to see and do each day. In her years of travel (her last trip was in 2001 at the age of 85) she visited many countries. I would not be surprised if the list below has some trips missing. She often impulsively took what she called "little trips" without telling any of her children!

Mother in Australia, 2001
1971: Age 55. Her first trip was to Florida and California, making a side trip to Hawaii

1974: Arizona

1975: Maritime Provinces, Canada

1976: New Mexico, Europe (Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy)
1977: Texas

1978: Florida

1996: Australia & New Zealand (backpacking)

1997: Florida, Salt Lake City Utah, Ireland

1998: China

1998: New York

1999: Britain, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Germany

2000: Australia (camping on safari in the Outback)

2001: Age 85. Alaska & British Columbia, South Africa, Australia

My first step was to go through her hand-written journals and photocopy the pages. Since she wrote in small day-planners I then had to cut and paste to put several days on to one page. Then I photocopied those cut and paste pages.

Next I created "cover" sheets which gave the date and the name of the trip. Mother had also typed up notes (not the same as her diary entries) and these were on her computer. I printed those off and figured out what went where, then sorted everything chronologically.
Mother on a bull, year unknown

This morning I used my document feed scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner , and created 6 pdf files of Mother's trips -  20 pages each. This scanner is awesome. I can't praise it enough. It's one of the best technical items I ever purchased.

Next I will send the pdf files to my family members who want copies. I am going to mail the printed copies (after I bind them as a book) to my mother's younger sister who is 92 years old. I know she'll enjoy reading them especially because she accompanied my mother on two of her many trips.

I plan on next copying mother's daily diaries that she kept when she was not on a trip. It feels good to finally bring some organization and preservation to these treasured family diaries.

1 comment:

Virginia Allain said...

Great ideas! I've been wondering how I should deal with my mother's diaries. This gives me something to think further on it.