There is a vast scrapbooking world out there of folks who create extraordinary volumes of carefully crafted pictures and mementoes that become instant family keepsakes. And while I am a fan of the scrap-book aficionados and subscribe to various related magazines, I simply don’t have the time to tackle these vast projects, with rare exceptions. So, I have embraced a new strategy of memory saving—creating shadow boxes—that hopefully offers equally charming results.
I suppose shadow boxes have been around for ages. As a child growing up, I have two distinct memories of shadow boxes that my artistic mother made. Long before the days of mega craft stores like Michaels, these shadow boxes were custom made. In the case of my mother, she went to our local frame shop in Ponca City, Oklahoma—Prather’s—to make her visions a reality. The first shadow box with a rather large one with a light blue velvet backing. Inside this beautiful box was the Christening dress that was worn by both my sister and myself. It was in my Mother’s bedroom for all the years I could remember. The second shadow box highlighted some beautiful toys that my great grandfathered had whittled himself. Both became highly prized family heirlooms.
So, when I recently attended my nephew’s college graduation, I knew that a shadow box was a great option for me. I found the box online at the Oklahoma City Based Hobby Lobby and it was delivered to my home a few days later. I combined the program for the graduation, plus pictures we had taken of the occasion and accompanying holiday. Likewise, I added a few pictures from Benjamin’s childhood, for good measure. I complemented the photos with some special additions—vintage postcards of his college campus, some decorations with a Native American flavor (he is a member of the Chickasaw Nation), and old-school fountain pen (Benjamin is an avid reader and writer) and a special business card which was signed for Benjamin by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), who was the graduation keynote speaker. (I happened to be on the same plane with Senator Udall after graduation. As I was already scheming about creating some sort of commemorative gift, I bothered him for an “autograph.”) The “construction” of the box was simple, relying on various glues, my glue gun and Velcro adhesive strips.
I securely packed it in bubble wrap and voila! It was ready to send off to the recipient. A scrapbook with pages and pages of photos and decorations would have been nice, but I hope he appreciates this alternative nonetheless.