There are many ways to ensure a special place for reunions in
the lives, hearts, memories and history of members. This section
outlines just some reunion preservation ideas and we invite you
to e-mail us your special
ways of preserving and celebrating your reunion.
there an epidemic of memoir fever?
Many Americans are scrambling with video cameras, tape recorders
and other high-tech tools to chronicle family histories before
the memories are gone. When relatives share their histories, think
how fascinated you are. Then, watch the childrens faces
as they, too, find it intriguing. That look of astonishment on
your kids faces means its time to make sure you record
the stories for them to enjoy later.
memoirs like Tom Brokaws The Greatest Generation,
Frank McCourts Angelas Ashes and the wonderful
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters First 100 Years
have fueled the fire. Memoirs dont have to be difficult-to-read
genealogy but rather can employ all manner of new media. Ordinary
folks are becoming writers and moviemakers by publishing their
works in limited quantities for current and future generations.
These are generally parochial efforts of interest to extended
boomers hearing, learning and appreciating their parents stories
of the Depression and World War II can be very interesting (true)
tales. Everyday life stories can produce eye-opening experiences.
Children will be amazed to realize what things cost as little
as 50 years ago and how people lived without TV, DVD players, CDs, microwaves,
computers, video games and many other things we now take for granted.
reunions, memoirs maintain a connection among generations and
are an antidote to anonymity. Your grandchildren and their grandchildren
will know you through memoirs. Tell it like it is, be a good listener
and you can make an immortal collection of memories. EW
are many ways to incorporate memoirs into your reunion.
stories from them.
them to create re-enactments of ancestors lives.
copies to help finance your reunion.
them a permanent part of your reunion or family archives.
trees help preserve reunions
Trees are a prominent theme, logo and design idea for reunions
and can also be used in different ways. Living trees as prizes
make memories but are lovely only for members who have a place
to plant them. A small tree in a pot that can be put on an apartment
balcony or terrace works well if there is no earth in which to
plant one. Cuttings or grafts for those clever enough to know
what to do with them can extend a family's connections even further.
Naedler, Hopatcong, New Jersey, reports that her Cousin Connection
Reunion awards a "family tree" to the person who selects
the number closest to the count of peanuts in a large fish bowl.
The tree is growing and suitable for transplanting in October
(when they have their reunion).
147 attendees at the Navy Destroyer USS Ingersoll reunion each
donated $1.00 to plant 147 Blue Spruce Trees at Snowmass, Colorado,
as part of the Plant-It-2000 Program. This idea works well for
any type of reunion: plant trees in the name of grandchildren,
ancestors, fallen comrades and deceased classmates.
Tibben reported that her Skinner/McQueen Family Reunion planted
and dedicated a tree to her parents, Bill and Leona Skinner, in
the park where they held reunions for nine years. They chose a
Liquid Amber to commemorate autumn, a favorite time of year for
both parents. A plaque in red granite imbedded in a stone reads "The Family Tree, Its Roots an Ancestry, Its Limbs New Generations." Skinner grandsons dug the hole and placed the plague.
do you incorporate trees in your reunion?
Laurie Thompson reports that damaged, faded, irreplaceable photographs
can be saved. Storage of your valuable heirloom photos in a dark
acid free environment will slow the deterioration process but
nothing can stop it. New methods of restoration can reprint images.
The original fragile photo is scanned. Then, in a labor-intensive,
digital restoration process, the image is converted to a film
negative and printed. Your original remains intact.
who restores heirloom photos, offers a free evaluation and estimate
if you send a copy of your damaged photo to Imagination Studio,
2812 Tanglewood Dr, Sarasota FL 34239; 941-922-9553.
Here are some basics for hiring a reunion photographer.
around. Get recommendations and check albums of friends and
relatives. Ask how their photographers were to deal with.
Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
the photographer. Spend time with the person who will be photographing
your reunion. See his/her actual work. Discuss his/her approaches
prices. Packages vary in size and cost. Try boiling them down
to comparable terms by dividing total costs by the number
of photos you'd get.
the photographer. Make sure the person you met is specifically
named in your contract as the photographer.
- Be realistic.
Get the package that suits your reunion.
the details. Make sure the contract spells out everything
you're getting, the total cost and when you can expect to
get the photos. Use a credit card for protection.
in touch. Call occasionally to make sure the photographer
is still in business.
reunions are portrait time
Family reunions are great times to make family portraits.
a large group, however, has many inherent problems. You must keep
everyone's attention and have all eyes looking at the camera.
Barking like a dog (some of us will do anything to get others
to look at us) serves this purpose well. Many times getting a
group to say "cheese" works, but "hi!" (tell
them to keep their teeth closed) and "shucks" are better.
for the birdie
Soft warm smiles are better than big cheesy grins so ask everyone
to shake like a dog, relax and then smile pleasantly keeping attention
toward you. Ask persons not in the picture to stand directly behind
you so if people look at them, they'll still be looking at the
there be light
Lighting is crucial. Avoid sun that makes big shadows across faces.
It is unflattering, and film doesn't see details like the human
eye. The sunlight is behind subjects just after noon till about
three o'clock, but open shading from a building shadow or a tree
favorite light comes just before sunset. Warm color makes everyone
look nicer if the light does not create shadows. The soft light
just following sunset is perfect for shadow-free, even illumination,
but it's fleeting so shoot fast.
cameras with built-in flashes work well if the sun is to subjects'
backs, and you use the back-lighting mode. Back-lighting gives
subjects more dimensions as light comes over their shoulders.
Tripods may be cumbersome to use but a lifesaver if you want to
make bigger prints from your photographs. The tripod steadies
and prevents movement that would be more apparent on enlargements.
The more you enlarge, the more once subtle little imperfections
show up. You may also improve images by using a cable release.
This bit of extra work pays off in finer outcomes.
Proper clothing can turn a picture into a portrait. Mixing solid
colored clothing with the background eliminates distracting colors
and puts attention back into people's faces. One of the easiest
ways to keep clothing from having to many distracting styles,
colors and patterns is to have everyone wear commemorative t-shirts.
If all the shirts or tops are the same color, attention is forced
back to faces. It looks incredible. If you have different solid
colors in the same tones for each family, it defines each family
and looks fantastic. When I photograph families, I like them to
wear long sleeves and pants, to keep flesh color mainly to the
Where you choose to take the picture is important. Minimize background
distractions. A good rule of thumb is to have a simple background
without too many colors or distracting patterns.
see areas that will stand out in the background, close one eye
and squint with the other. Don't try this standing on one leg
- you might fall down. If it stands out when you squint, it will
stand out in your picture. People will block a lot of the background
everyone so you can see their faces. Get them to relax. Place
some people in front on the ground sitting up or leaning on one
arm. The next row should be sitting on chairs, rocks, or stumps
to get them a little higher. The third row should stand to the
side and back of the seated row. Keep individuals and rows very
lots of film. These images will be with you for the rest of your
life. If it is in your budget, hire a professional photographer
and be sure you get great pictures.
luck and keep smiling.
J.R. vanLienden and his wife Darcy own and operate Masterpiece
in Sarasota, Florida. They specialize in outdoor portraits, many
of which are created on Florida's Gulf Coast beaches where they
claim to have the whitest sand in the world.
|Tips for making memory booklets
by Richard Hane
1. Plan early! To estimate the cost of each booklet, approximate how many booklets will be ordered and how many pages you’ll need for each. Add a few dollars to the price and use the books for fundraising. Then you’ll know how much to charge each member.
2. Before or after? If you want booklets ready for the reunion, you need to collect photos, personal information and money before the reunion. If you plan on making a booklet after the reunion, set up a table at the reunion with order forms. Only booklets made after the reunion can include photos from the reunion.
3. Quality counts! Many reunions have some kind of booklet. Someone on the committee gets stuck pasting, typing, copying and stapling. Often, the end product is not as nice as you’d hoped. Why not get them done professionally? Customized booklets can be ordered for as little as $18.62 each.
4. Choose the right booklet-making company. Sometimes booklets are part of a larger package where you must use the booklet maker's or other event planning services photographers. Other companies specializing in making booklets can use your photos or photos from a photographer you choose.
For information about memory booklets contact 270-559-9639, www.memorybooklets.com.