10 September 2010

Scrapbooks, Flat Daddies, and Can-Can Dances

Last week, I asked Red Bull Rising readers about methods they're using to record their friends' and families' deployment histories. I'm pleased to report a number of thoughtful responses ...

Anonymous said:
"Even though I don't scrapbook, my son and I are making a scrapbook. On each full layout - one side is what Daddy did that month (or where he was that month or whatever he could take pictures of and send electronically!) and the other side will be some highlights of what we did that month. I thought it would be a nice way to look back and see what life was like for both parts of the family :)"
I could see doing this with my own kids. Because it gives the family something to work on together, soldiers can send photos and notes electronically, or little souvenir items via postal mail.

Tami C. echoed the scrapbook tactic:
"I too am making a scrapbook for my son Jacob. I will include newspaper articles, printouts from blogs and links from here and his computer conversations with us. Also family photos of events and holidays. Also pics of support participation we do and much more!! Would love ideas from others!"
Kevin T. described how his family preserved instant-messenger "chats" with his deployed son:
"When my son was deployed last year we used Messenger for chat throughout our family. With everyone on the same platform there weren't any issues. At the end of each session I would copy and paste the text into an email and mail it to myself. Later this winter I will compile all the conversations and have one document that holds everything. We didn't use the voice option just the video and typing because the quarters he had were for soldiers on many different shifts and someone was always sleeping."
Crystal L. talked about using a "Flat Daddy"--a large-format photograph of a soldier mounted on corrugated plastic, foam board, or other stiff backing--and documenting "his" adventures with a photo-blog:
"We are using 'Flat Daddy' and taking pictures of various places Flat Daddy has been through out the deployment. I really should setup a blog to tell about Flat Daddy's adventures. This weekend he went with his parents and our children to visit Great Grandpa!"
I know of another soldier whose friends have mounted a life-sized facial photo on a stick--it looks like something one might fan oneself with at the Iowa State Fair. Somehow, even though he's deployed, "Larry" keeps popping up in photos like "Where's Waldo?" He even has his own Facebook group!

Finally, in one of my favorite responses, Mary B. sent a great picture that illustrates exactly the kind of whimsical and heartfelt activity that might otherwise be lost to more-official, less-personal histories:
"Just wanted to let you know that the 'Floozy Susies' of the Golden Slipper Saloon [a venue at the annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant] sold RWB garters to raise money to help support the 832nd Engineers down there in Camp Shelby. Can any other NG unit there say THAT!!!!"
Isn't history fun?

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