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Saving Dad's Memories

Updated on May 05, 2015
My Dad, Clyde Martin, and his first daughter. Eventually he had six children.
My Dad, Clyde Martin, and his first daughter. Eventually he had six children. | Source

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Product Name:  Military Award Shadow Box with Display Case for 3 x 5 feet Flag, Blue Felt
Product Name: Military Award Shadow Box with Display Case for 3 x 5 feet Flag, Blue Felt

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.

 

What Is the Gift Giving Occasion for Your Dad?

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Shadow Box for Flag and Military Memorabilia - Click on the photo to see other sizes and styles

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

My sister, Cindy, and our mother helped me write the stories for this book about Dad's life. It meant a lot to him.
My sister, Cindy, and our mother helped me write the stories for this book about Dad's life. It meant a lot to him. | Source

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 larger

Click thumbnail to view full-size

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.

Will You Try Any of These Gift Ideas for Your Dad?

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    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @BarbRad: I suggest preserving your dad's memorabilia or memories in one of these ways as a gift for yourself.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

      My dad hasn't been around since 1987, but it might be a great idea for my nephews someday when they become fathers themselves. Only one ever knew his grandfather.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @TamarWrites: I hope more and more people start doing this. Saving family memories is so important.

    • profile image

      TamarWrites 4 years ago

      My husband's cousin made a book after interviewing my father-in-law. We each got a copy, and when he died last year, his story became even more cherished.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens and I think that recording your memories for dad is a great invention.

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