Published: Sep 06, 2008 07:12 PM
Modified: Sep 06, 2008 07:12 PM
Touch of Gray -- The Report from Carolina Meadows
Carolyn Taylor was thrilled with the gift her 16-year-old granddaughter Morgan Taylor gave her a couple of years ago. It was an album of photographs of Morgan's older brother, Carolyn's grandson Zac Taylor."There were photos of Zac as a baby, playing ball, smiling at me and my husband, Grandpa Sam Taylor," Carolyn said. "I was so proud of her. It was such a joy to see all those pictures of Zac as he was growing up. I was so touched."Carolyn agonized about how to come up with a similarly meaningful gift for her granddaughter in return.Happily, she discovered the Carolina Meadows Scrapbooking Group, which meets twice a month in the Art Room.Since she does not consider herself to be a "crafts person," Carolyn was grateful to learn that Pat Rosendahl and her daughter Krista came from their home in Durham to instruct and assist the group members. The Rosendahls brought beautiful acid-free albums, acid-free colorful paper and stickers, a variety of cutting equipment -- and, best of all, a plethora of design ideas for group members.With the help of Pat and Krista, Carolyn was able to complete an album of photographs of Morgan for her 2008 birthday."I so treasure this book from Grandma and I'll keep it forever and show it to my children," said Morgan, who is a senior at Chapel Hill High School. Beverlee Grier, another member of the Scrapbooking Group, has finished an album containing her memories about her trip to Australia and New Zealand. She is working on a book about her recent trip visiting her son, who is in U.S. Foreign Service in South Africa. Ellen Gruber Garvey, a fellow at the National Humanities Center, recently gave a lecture at Carolina Meadows and told her audence that scrapbooking in the 19th century was very different from scrapbooking today. In her presentation on "Book, Paper, Scissors; Scrapbooks Remake Nineteenth Century Print Culture," Garvey said scrapbooks then rarely contained photographs, as they were too expensive. Instead, greeting cards, colorful advertisements and newspaper clippings were featured. Unfortunately, most of them were pasted into the books with flour and water mixtures that have deteriorated over time. Another pathway for Carolinal Meadows residents to preserve and pass on memorable life events to family and friends is through audiotaping an oral history. After arranging for purchase of digital recording equipment through the Residents' Association, resident Debbie Coplin began a "Life, Times and Legacy" project in which she visits other residents and records their reminiscences. She encourages interviewees not to read from notes, which can be dull, but rather to be spontaneous in their taped presentations. Through her computer she is able to make as many discs as the resident desires. Debbie has completed 12 recorded interviews. Because of the funding from the Residents' Association, there is no charge for this service to the Carolina Meadows resident. "It's a nice family Christmas or birthday present," she said. "I think it's important that family can hear the resident's voice. And it's such a pleasure and so interesting for me to hear the stories about their lives which residents relate -- for instance, about their experiences during the 1930s economic depression, being quarantined for smallpox, experiencing the closing of swimming pools during a polio epidemic, rationing during World War II."Of course, Debbie made her own recording for her children. One of the highlights was the story of her husband's family's trip in the late 1880s from Independence, Mo., to White Oaks, N.M. There were no railroads in that part of the country at that time, so they went by ox cart, carrying a piano. What might have been the first piano in the New Mexico territory in the late 19th century enabled Debbie's mother-in-law to become a piano teacher in Lincoln County, N.M.Carolina Meadows boasts a number of groups focused on helping residents preserve their memories. The Photography Club, for example, is involved in preserving images of family and travel experiences. And the Writer's Group meets weekly to encourage and critique the writings of fellow writers. Resident Bert Gieger has written a multi-chaptered autobiography about his career as a dress designer; he reads excerpts from the book at many of the meetings. Carolyn Roessel writes about her experiences living in Japan. The compositions of Bob Huddleston and John Ryan often revolve around their World War II experiences as a fighter pilot and as a prisoner of war.
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2008 The Chapel Hill News