Saving Dad's Memories
Honor Dad by Turning His Memories into a Book or Keepsake
Last year, I created a book about my father's life by collecting together essays written by my mom, my sister and myself. That sounds like a major project, but self-publishing a book is much easier these days. It also is much less expensive than it used to be.
Saving your father's memories or family history in a book is a gift of love. It's suitable for Father's Day, birthdays, Christmas or as a retirement gift. Actually you don't need a special occasion to create such a book or keepsake, you can make one at any time. He will feel loved and appreciated when he receives it.
(photo from the Martin family album - Clyde Owen Martin with his daughter Susan, 1948)
Five Options for a Memory Keepsake for Dad
Look over these ideas to see which appeals to you, then look further down the page for more detail about carrying out each project.
- If you want to make a book, allow plenty of lead time. It's hard to say how much time it will take as so much depends on the availability of material and how in-depth you want to make the book. Are you going to write the memories or collect them from family members? Do you have photos on hand or need to search for those? The book can be mostly photos with short memory pieces or mostly text with photos sprinkled in.
- If you want to make a webpage featuring family history or a special interest of your dad's, I recommend Squidoo. With its easy modules to plug in and then fill with your text and photos, this can be made fairly quickly. I've provided some examples below.
- Instead of a book, you can post essays about your father's life or ancestors on a website like Our Echo. Besides honoring your father, you've made the family history available for other relatives or researchers.
- If you're a writer and short of time to create a gift for your dad, then write a heartfelt essay about him. I did this with essays for different occasions, ending up with pieces like "Thoughts on My Dad on His 83rd Birthday," and "A Touch of Clyde Martin's Humor." Another one that he liked was "Lessons I Learned from My Dad." You can print these up on nice paper and put them in a plastic sleeve inside an attractive folder to give him on the special occasion. If you are far away, post them online or email them to him, if he's comfortable with the computer.
- If your dad served in the military, think about a webpage or a book focused on that topic. I've provided a link below about Saving World War II Letters. The same advice could be applied to the Korean War or Vietnam War. Besides a book or webpage, you could get a good sized shadow box and fill it with his uniform hat, medals and other military memorabilia that he might have.
Example of a Shadow Box for Your Father - Available from Amazon in various styles
This one is perfect for a veteran to showcase his military memorabilia. You can get other shadow boxes to feature your dad's career or club participation.
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Shadow Box for Flag and Military Memorabilia - Click on the photo to see other sizes and styles
Isn't this one handsome!
My daughter made one for her grandfather at Christmas. He loves it.
Making a Book with Blurb.com
There are other options for self-publishing, but I've had great success with Blurb and find it very user-friendly.
You can use other options for self-publishing like Create Space or Lulu.
Video Demonstrating the BookSmart Software
The Book We Created about My Dad's Life
Watch This Video When a Parent Sees the Book about Their Life for the First Time
Photo Gallery of My Dad over the Years - Click on any picture to see it largerClick thumbnail to view full-size
More Ways to Perserve Your Father's Memory
Dad and Me - Recording Your Memories for Dad
With this one, you record your own answers to questions about your dad and then give the book to him.