Home' Aurora : Aurora May 2014 Contents 5
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
THIS MUM'S MARKING
Monica Scanlon shares a story of a much-
loved Mum's creative gift -- one that is
simple, yet so meaningful.
Many year s ago, on holiday in America,
Elizabeth Har rison had a 'light bulb'
moment. Having always loved photos, she
ventured into a scrapbook shop and from
that moment, was hooked on the pleasur e
Her son Andrew said, "Mum loves
scrapbooking because she loves, and is
incredibly proud of, her family. Each photo
she selects, ar tfully captions and beautifully
displays, is a gift of love to her children and
gr andchildren." Andrew's twin Mark said,
"Mum has a naturally creative flair - her
years working as a primary school teacher
help. It goes fur ther than that though. I
believe that Mum hoped to share her early
life with my father, and their many positive
times , with her children." Elizabeth spends
months working on each book.
As a child, she spent a lot of time with her
gr andmother, who told her lots of stories.
As she grew older, she wished she had
recorded them, and so the scr apbooking
process was inspired.
Elizabeth handwrote a book of memories
for each of her five children. "I wanted my
children to know what I was like before
they knew me." The books include
anecdotes about each child. She says she
has a lovely family but they lead busy lives
and sometimes there is no time to tell
them impor tant things. The books can be
read over and over.
Younger daughter Amy said, "We're a
family of reader s, so Mum really relishes
the scope that scrapbooking provides to
express her love for her family through
meaningful words and photographs. Mum
ha s always cherished memories above
possessions , so scr apbooking is a great
outlet for her creativity and her passions
-- family, tr avel and lear ning. Marking
milestones really appeals to Mum. She's a
thoughtful person, well known for putting
lots of effor t into celebrating special family
Older daughter Joanne recalls, "It was
fun to read about ourselves as babies,
toddlers and little kids since, unlike today's
children, we don't have any video footage
of our selves at this age." Amy agrees, "I
have thousands of photos of my kids, but
they're almost all just on the computer -
there is something very meaningful about
a tangible collection of memories, and it's
nicer to pore over with the children than a
slideshow on a laptop ! "
in 2006, when her twin sons tur ned 40,
Elizabeth began the tradition of presenting
her children with a handcrafted scrapbook.
Joanne said, "The scrapbooks for our 40ths
were Mum's way of saying, 'I'm so proud
of you and all that you've accomplished'."
Amy said, "I'm the youngest in the family,
so still have a bit of a wait before my 40th,
although Mum has joked about making
some of it in advance as she'll be 80 by
then - and still a bundle of energy, I'm
In 2008, on the 20th anniversar y of her
husband Trevor's death, Elizabeth gave
each of her children a photo book (created
online) about their Dad, including a special
letter about him. This was very precious as
none of her children was able to enjoy an
adult relationship with him. It helped them
to 'know' him in a way they imagined they
would have, had he lived. Andrew said,
"These gifts have more poignancy because
when Mum's compiling them, she's also
providing a testament to the love shar ed
by my parents. Dad died far too young, but
Mum's scr apbooking jour ney through time
is proof of how that love is passed from
one generation to the next. I feel sadness
too, for my mother, my siblings, and myself,
and for Dad's five children's par tners and
his gr andchildren, who didn't have the
chance to meet a truly exceptional man."
Elizabeth recalls handing over the books
commemor ating her husband, "It wa s an
incredible feeling -- they had no idea and
the looks on their faces were so special."
Mark said, "These books reveal the
successes and challenges of family life.
Striking facts often jump out at me when
I reread them; for example, Mum and
Dad only had two weeks' notice that they
were having twins! Another whammy
came soon after wards when I was born
very small and with club feet. Mum wasn't
allowed to see me for three days and I was
in hospital for six weeks before I could go
Amy said, "The book 's very precious.
Having lost Dad when I was seven, I
appreciated Mum's care in filling in lots
of gaps in my understanding of him as a
person and of their relationship."
When Elizabeth turned 70, her five
children, their par tner s and older
grandchildren put together a scr apbook
that allowed them to express their thanks
to her and tell a few funny stories. Joanne
says, "Our effor t wa s nowhere near as
beautiful as the ones Mum has put together
but in ter ms of the time and love that we
put into the words, photos and design, it
was ver y much appreciated." Elizabeth
trea sures this book.
Elizabeth's 14 gr andchildren range in age
from 22 to two year s old. She's keen to
continue scrapbooking to ensure that the
memories are kept alive for gener ations to
come. Her gift of such devotion will long
be trea sured by her descendants -- and
there's an implicit invitation to the next
gener ation to continue the tr adition!
(back) Mark and Andrew Harrison, (front) Amy Maguire, Elizabeth Harrison and Joanne Isaac peruse one of Elizabeth's scrapbooks.
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