Sixty Years Of Memories

For my dad's 60th birthday last week, I wanted to do something really fun. My dad and I talk a lot about the past---nostalgia runs in our blood, I think---and we both love to reminisce. Inspired by Jordan Ferney's Postcard Birthday Poster, I started batting around an idea: what if I could get everyone from my dad's past to contribute a memory they had of him? What if I had all those people send their memories to me, and then I put each one into an envelope---sixty total, of course---and had him open them, one by one, on his birthday?

That would be a lot of memories, right?

So I wrote an email. I sent it to family, to friends, to aunties and uncles we'd grown up calling aunties and uncles even though they weren't related by blood. This is what I said:

Hello everyone!

If you're receiving this email, you probably know that our dad, Patrick Burns, is turning 60 next month (much as he would hate us to be reminding everyone, I'm sure.) To celebrate his birthday, we'd like to put together a little surprise to let him know that his nearest and dearest are thinking of him. We're going to try and create "60 Years of Memories" by filling 60 envelopes with a memory his friends and family have of him.

And this is where you come in!

If you have a spare moment in the next few days, we would be so grateful if you'd jot down a favorite memory you have of our dad and put it in the post. It doesn't have to be anything fancy -- you can just write it down on a piece of paper and sign your name. You can mention anything you like -- although the more nostalgic the better! Please absolutely feel free to send more than one memory (in fact, we welcome it -- we've got 60 envelopes to fill!), but make sure you write them on different pieces of paper (and sign your name to each) so we can split them up.

Thank you so, so, so much for participating -- we know everyone is busy with their own lives, and we do appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this; it will be so worth it when he reads all the memories people have of him! (Please don't forget to keep it a surprise until then, though!)

Thank you so much again.

--Holly, Tom, Luke, and Susie

(I also gave them my address, of course, though I've obviously left it out here. Not that I don't want to open the door and have you standing there wielding a steak knife, but it might be kind of awkward for both of us.)

So I sent the email and then I waited. And then the replies started coming in and I was flabbergasted. I was flabbergasted, Internet, and I do not use that word lightly. There were so many memories, and they were all so lovely. They came from the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, from every decade between now and the day my dad was born. They came from my mother, my siblings, my grandma, my dad's friends from high school, his sister, an old girlfriend, my mother's old boyfriend, my dad's first boss, a colleague at his first job, from people who remembered people no longer with us, from people who hadn't seen my dad in forty years, from people I hadn't even contacted originally but who had been told about the project by someone else. They typed them and handwrote them. They mailed them and emailed them. I collected them for two weeks, my heart pinging with excitement each time a new one arrived.

The night before his birthday, my sister and I stayed up late, putting everything together. I had some vintage airmail envelopes left over from my wedding—I found them on ebay a few years ago—and I bought a packet of numbered stickers at Michaels after a fraught half hour of anxious math, trying to decide how many we'd need. We numbered the envelopes from one to 60, then we tucked a different memory into each.

And then, on the morning of his birthday, after breakfast and presents and cake, we gave them to him. "Just one more thing for you," we said.

It took him a really, really, really long time to open them. Each one was a brief ticket to another time, a leap backwards over years and decades into the past. There was a lot of laughter, and---I don't think my dad will mind me telling you this---a few tears too.

There were also a couple of emerging themes:

a) My dad locks himself out a lot

b) My dad may have had a little too much to drink upon occasion during his rugby-playing years

c) My dad often has trouble remembering to bring his passport on international trips.

I'm thinking at least two of those three might have been related, what do you say?

In a way, I'm sort of sad that this project is over because it was a huge amount of fun to collect and collate all of these memories, many of them occuring years before I was even born. It gave me a different picture of my dad, one woven together by all the people from his past, all those people who---weirdly, peripherally, slowly, surely---put into action the sequence of events that led to my life as I know it.

Turns out, you can make a lot of memories in sixty years. And then, if you're lucky, you can relive them all over again.

 

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Patsi Burgess Klein
Jul 07, 2012

That is the most awesome thing iv ever heard of. You are just so imaginative to come up with it and so in love with your family to accomplish it. I would love to have done this for my Mom before she passed away at 94 this past september.I may still try it, in memory of her. It would be nice to hear all the wonderful stories about her. Hope you wouldn't mind me stealing it. Thank you so much! That brightened my day!!

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Candice
Jul 07, 2012

I just wanted to let you know I copied this idea and used it for my Grandma's birthday. She turned 77 today... which means she was 77 on 7/7. So, I collected 77 memories and put it into a book instead of letters. But the letter I sent out to her friends and family was very similar to the letter you sent.
She was so incredibly touched by the gift. It meant the world to her. She told me that it will be something she treasures forever and that it was the nicest gift she's ever been given.
I cannot thank you enough for this idea. My family is so in love with this book and it is a true testament to how wonderful of a woman my Grandma is and has always been. Without you posting this I would have never come up with it and I would have never been able to make her special birthday as special as it was today. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for posting this. You have no idea how much it means to me.
Thank you thank you thank you.

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Candice
Jul 07, 2012

Thank you thank you thank you!
Today was my Grandma's 77th birthday... she turned 77 on 7/7. I pinned this idea over 30 weeks ago and saved it for her birthday. I copied a lot of what you did, only asked for 77 memories and put it into a book instead of envelopes. But the letter I sent to everyone explaining the project was very similar to yours.
I had so much fun putting this book together for my Grandma and when she opened it and started reading the memories it was the most amazing experience I've ever shared with her and my family. Everyone was so excited to see her reaction to the book and she absolutely loved it.
Had you not posted this wonderful idea I would have never been able to make her special birthday so incredibly special. She was so touched by the book and it was a real testament to the amazing woman that she is and has always been.
Before I left her house she hugged me tight and told me this is something she will treasure forever and that she has never received a nice gift. It means more than words can say to have had the chance to give her something this meaningful. I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate you posting this idea and allowing me the chance to do this for my Grandma. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this idea. You have no idea just how much you helped me and my family honor my Grandma.
Thank you, forever.
Candice

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Jess Parker
Jul 09, 2012

Hi there.

I found this page through 'Stumbleupon' and it really resonated with me (I too got a little teary).

I adore how thoughtful you and your sister are, and it brought a smile to my face seeing the pictures of your dad opening the letters.

My dad isn't one for material things. He loves his family and friends and is that rare breed of thoughtful, caring, wise, kind etc. etc. with a strong personality to match. He is finally in remission after fighting oesophageal cancer for the last 2 and a bit years and it's been hard on everyone, not many celebrations in the Parker household during that time. I bookmarked this page last November thinking it would be a THE birthday present for him once he had recovered, if he recovered.

It is now 2 weeks until his 65th birthday and this couldn't be more perfect. I guess after coming so close to death this will mean EVEN more to him now. I will be going to see him along with as many family members can attend to celebrate with him (and dig him a pond, he loves his wildlife) so the stage will be set.

Me and my sister have sent out emails, linked your blog (which got the same reaction as everyone else who has commented), and are hastily gathering replies.

We are thinking to make a book for him depending on how many replies we get.

I just had to come back to offer my sincerest thanks for sharing this. I cannot wait for the 21st July to see his face! :)

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Ann
Jul 10, 2012

I found your brilliant idea on a Pinterest board several months ago and pinned it myself. I loved your idea so much that this past weekend, I presented a similar package of memories to my husband for his 60th birthday. He's still thanking me for it. You're a genius and I thank you for sharing your idea so I could copy it. Hope you'll come look at onceuponafirefly.blogspot.com. I plan to post about it tomorrow (Wednesday). Thanks again!

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robbie
Jul 10, 2012

I love how you "packaged" your idea with the old AirMail envelopes! It is a such a trip down memory lane for the recipient. I did this for my husband's 70th birthday this past December, collecting memory letter and email from friends as far back as his high school years. Like your experience, once word got out, once friends were contacted they spread the word to others they knew would want to participate. You are a wonderful and creative daughter to do this for your dad! Congratulations on your outstanding success with this project!

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Pam
Jul 11, 2012

Thank you for this idea. I collected letters for my grandmother's 90th birthday, and we got some fantastic responses. She couldn't figure out how we found some of her friends who wrote letters, but I just gave some extra postcards explaining the project to her brother and some of her neighbors who knew people we didn't. Thank you for inspiring what will be a family treasure, and it sure made my Grandmother's day!

Wow! Just wow. Amazing initiative and idea - I love how it turned out and how thankful your dad must have been to relive those memories! Tucking this away for my mother's 60th! Thank you!

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Coffee
Jul 12, 2012

What a wonderful idea! Really, I must save it, maybe I'll use it someday for someone ;)
This whole process even almost didn't made me cry :D
P.S. sorry for my bad english (blush)

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Tara
Jul 12, 2012

This whole idea is so touching. Mostly for me because I wish I had done something like that for my dad. Instead I was the recipient of those memories at his memorial service 4 years ago. The neatest thing is what you wrote about getting to know your dad in different ways as a result of these memories. That bundle of envelopes is something that will no doubt continue to be cherished by generations to follow. Next get him to record some of *his own* stories!!

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pk walker
Jul 15, 2012

I love this idea and I'm going to adapt it to my parents' 50th wedding anniversary coming up soon. I'm also asking if they'll submit a photo with their memory. Thanks for sharing!

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Anji Black
Jul 15, 2012

I love this! Guess what my sweet husband is getting for his birthday!

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Kath DeLacy
Jul 15, 2012

Thank you so much for sharing this. I saw it on Pinterest a few months ago, and realized this was exactly what I wanted to do for my husband's 50th birthday. It took him almost 90 minutes to read thru his memories. He laughed, he cried, and he kept saying this was the best gift he ever got!!

Imagine MY shock 6 weeks later when I turned 50, when our 3 daughter's presented me with my own packet of 50 envelopes!! I was so overwhelmed, I burst into tears before I even started reading!! LOL I agreed 100% with my husband - BEST GIFT EVER!!

I have shared this idea with many, and a friend just did it 2 weeks ago for HER husband. Same reaction!!

Thank you so much for sharing this!!

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Kerri
Jul 16, 2012

wow, what an amazing idea. I had tears in my eyes by the time I'd finished reading :o) x

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Jules
Jul 16, 2012

This was an amazing idea, unfortunately I lost my dad in 1994, he was my best friend. I would have loved to have this idea for him. I had tears reading this thinking about my dad bring back loads of memories. I also love the fact you posted pic's of him ready some of his letters. Thank you, and cherish him while you still have him. He has amazing children to do this for him. Jules

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Crystal
Jul 16, 2012

Thank you for sharing. I'm going to put this together for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. I don't have much time so I'll stick to email responses.

I love this!!

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Sabine
Jul 17, 2012

Wow, what an amazing idea. Wonderful!!! Will definitely copy it for my mother or my best friend. Thank you for being an inspiration! :)

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Samantha Shelton
Jul 17, 2012

Wow! I'm so touched and inspired by this! My husband who's graduating from college...he's not college age if you get the message....This is going to be a perfect gift for him! Thank you for this more than wonderful idea!

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Leslie
Jul 17, 2012

I did something similar to this for my husband's 60th, although I love your memory idea better. I didn't know him or his friends back then. So ...he was in Florida trying to set up our life down there when he turned 60. Every Monday I sent a card to him...mainly because I wanted to see if they would arrive the same day each week. His BD was on a Thursday & every Thursday he got a card from me! I had 60 of our friends & relatives find the funniest card they could find & send it to me. My daughter took her spring break & we drove to Florida so we could be there for the surprise. I gave my neighbor all the cards to be mailed Monday from my mailbox & warned our mailman what was coming. We watched him meet the Florida mailman to get his mail....took forever! When he emerged, the look oh his face was incredulous! After dinner, he opened & read each one. We laughed& laughed! Only three were the same & only one was missing!

I can't take the credit for this idea...my mother did this for me when I turned 50. She lived in a retirement center & had 50 of the residents send me a card at the same time. I didn't know them but the sentiments that they wrote about my mom will be with me forever! She passed last year at the age of 95.

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Laura
Jul 17, 2012

My Dad is turning 70 this year, I am definitely going to do this. What kind of order did you put the memories in? Did you ask the participants to put at least the year or decade it occurred?

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Kristin
Jul 17, 2012

The tears are flowing!! Thank you so much for posting this AMAZING idea!!

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Kristin
Jul 17, 2012

The tears are flowing!! Thank you so much for posting this AMAZING idea!!

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Julie
Jul 17, 2012

WOW! What a great and meaningful gift! This is truly an amazing idea - how did you find the names and addresses of all those people in your Dad's past? I would love to do such a thing for my mom and my dad or even my sister or brother when they reach that age!

When my mom turned 70, my dad threw a surprise party for her where he invited the kids from the first class she ever taught - she was a 4th grade teacher and had been 26 then, so she hadn't seen any of those kids for years - or kept in touch. I thought it was going to be a disaster as I doubted anyone would be able to remember much about their 4th grade teacher, nor would many show up. It ended well, however - there were about 10 of her students and they actually did have a story to share - some even brought some photos. I found out I had been named after one of my mom's favorite students and got to meet her too.

Thanks for sharing! I can tell from the photos that your Dad was pleased!

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Autumn
Jul 18, 2012

I found this post thanks to Pinterest, and for that I am thankful! This is the most ingenious idea!! I love it!! I'm a genealogist, and can I just tell you, this would be the coolest thing to have and pass on!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!! Now I must figure out the occasions to do this for!! Thank you for the great idea!!! :D

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Janet Jongebloed
Jul 18, 2012

This was beautiful. And OMG! Thank you so much! This was the idea I had when my sister, father and mother died (we had a lot of death in our family.. lost all three of them before in the last 3 years, before I even turned 30). I wanted my kids and future husband to somehow know these people in my life. I was going to send everyone who knew them a letter asking them for their memories and then bound them into a book on lulu.com, but I didn't know what to say in the letter or if people would even do it for me. This website gave me the courage and kick in the pants I needed to know that this is what I should do. If you don't mind, may I use your letter as kind of a template as to what my letter would sound like? I'll need to edit it to suit my own project, but it really does sound like it would work as a great jumping off point. Thank you again!

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Trudi Wilbur
Jul 18, 2012

I love this idea! My dad turns 75 in 2 weeks & this would be amazing to do for him. I think I need to get started now! Reading this I had tears in my eyes too.

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Filomena
Jul 19, 2012

What a lovely idea, he must have loved it! I must congratulate you, for showing your love for your dad in such a creative - and loving- manner. If I may add something, I'd use all those memories and make a book in blurb.com or other site like that and keep those memories forever...

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Wendy
Jul 19, 2012

What a completely brilliant idea. Definitely one to store for future use! Thanks for pinning on Pinterest!

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Miranda
Jul 19, 2012

So wonderful!

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ChiWei
Jul 19, 2012

Wow, that is one of the most brilliant and heartwarming and beautiful ideas I've stumbled upon in a long time. And by stumbled, I mean I saw it on Pinterest. Sometimes, I feel like we look back on someone's life only after they've passed away, wishing we could share those stories with them one more time. How wonderful it would be to share those memories now, while they are around to enjoy and appreciate them. You better believe I'll be sharing this idea and making it fit somehow into my life, somewhere!

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Dawn Campbell
Jul 19, 2012

This is a wonderful idea! My mother turns 60 next year & now I think I have a wonderful surprise for her! Thank you for the idea!

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Jennifer
Jul 20, 2012

This was heartwarming! I'm not waiting for a birthday or special reason. I'm going to try this for my mom who has Alzheimer-like-memory-challenges. Tough days, but some better days! This would be a treat for my mom on those "better days"! It would also be a great trip down memory lane for my dad, as he visits twice a day, everyday (my mom's true love and my true hero!) The "old" memories tend to be the easiest to recall and these will be perfect story /conversation starters! And if she doesn't remember, it's okay... others sharing memories and love with my mom keeps her colorful and vivid and reminds us all how important she is!!! Thank you for inspiring so many to honor our loved ones!

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Megan
Jul 21, 2012

wow. I teared up too reading this! My Dad turns 70 next April and I just texted my mom and brother saying we need to do this for him. Just amazing. This is something I know he'll love. Thanks for sharing..
Anyone think of actually mailing these? Dropping them in the mail one day at a time? Would have to plan it right, count out the days.... but then the special person would actually recieve the letters. (make copies in case one doesn't show up). Or turning the envelopes into a scrapbook with pockets. Punch two holes into the flap, stack all the envelopes together and thread with twine. Use an empty envelope for top and bottom...

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steffi
Jul 21, 2012

What a grand idea! Thoughtful and special. Thank you for sharing!

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Kristel
Jul 21, 2012

Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I enjoyed reading it. My dad is a few years older but instantly made me think about him.
I love, love the photos you took of your dad reading these. I got teary eyed.
I can see you have a wonderful dad who has raised you well.

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Rocio
Jul 22, 2012

Hi!
I'm writing from Costa Rica. Just wanted to thank you for sharing this wonderful idea. I just did the same thing for my own dad's 60th birthday and he was overjoyed. I wasn't able to reach 60, but it was still awesome. Thanks again!!

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lapuertaentornada
Jul 22, 2012

I don't know you but you managed to get me emotional with this beautiful post. What a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing and giving us the opportunity to plagiarise you hehe.

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Louise
Jul 23, 2012

That was the most lovely thing I have heard in a long time, I cried and thought why am I not that nice to my parents and why had I left it so long to do something nice, so many of my family have died before I could ask them for memories.
Well done and what a difference things like that make to a relationship. I bet you had fun reading them too.
Wonderful, I always make excuses like 'I haven't' enough time' and 'the kids need this and that' but there's no excuse really. Only problem is, what will you follow it with?

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Kate
Jul 23, 2012

What an amazing thing to do for your dad. It brought tears to me eyes before I even got to the pictures of him reading. That's when the tears started rolling down my face. You are both so lucky to have one another.

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soni vashisht
Jul 23, 2012

beautiful idea!!...

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Heather
Jul 23, 2012

My Godmother is turning 75 this year and I am sooo glad to have found this. I am planning on doing it for her - she's lively and wonderful and I can't wait to see what people have to say! Thanks so much for sharing this!!

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Laurie
Jul 24, 2012

What a heartwarming gift! We've done memory books for Christmas for my folks in the past couple years, but this sounds like an even better idea for my daddy's upcoming 82nd birthday! We lost my mother a year ago and he is slowing adjusting to his independence after having her by his side for 56 years. My brain is spinning and I must get in touch with my siblings! I can't wait to get this project started!!

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kellie
Jul 24, 2012

Excellent idea

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kellie
Jul 24, 2012

Excellent idea

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Julia King
Jul 26, 2012

WOW... love this idea... just wish I'd thought of it for my mum and dad... now past their 70's..;o)

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Victoria
Jul 27, 2012

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story ... Just beautiful

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Lynn
Jul 28, 2012

I think this is one of the best, most thoughtful and loving gifts I've ever heard of! Absolutely outstanding.

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Erica
Jul 28, 2012

This project came to me in my Pinterest feed, about six months ago, and I've been thinking of it constantly, since then. My husband turns 30 next weekend and was raised in a family that never made a big deal out of birthdays. I decided "Thirty Years of Memories" would be perfect, especially since he served in the Army. So many of his battle buddies have responded!! I absolutely can not wait to present him with all of these letters! Thanks for such a great idea.

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Shana
Jul 28, 2012

What a lovely idea! My father turns 55 next year...and I think I will be borrowing this here little project!

Not only will my dad love all the letters and memories, I will love reading all the memories that others share with him.

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Dawn
Jul 29, 2012

Tears just from reading... beautiful. My Gram turns 95 this winter. I hope I can get this to work... 95 memories. She'll read until she's 100. :) Thank you for an amazing idea.

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Janet Hellebuyck
Jul 30, 2012

I was online looking for ideas for my 39th Anniversary turning 21. The BIG 60. I hoped my Sister and Brother in Law could come out to our home to celebrate. I don't think he wants too. So I wanted to get other ideas. I saw this and thought, oh my, how thoughtful you are. This is such a wonderful thing you did for your Father. God Bless YOU! Great idea and yes, I too, got tears in my eyes.

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Janet Hellebuyck
Jul 30, 2012

This idea is WONDERFUL! How very thoughtful you are. I think this gift is a very meaningful gift and one to Treasure. You are Special Daughter.

I too, teared up reading about this and imagining how I would feel if these 60 letters were presented to me on my 39th Anniversary of turning 21. MY BIG 60.

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LuAnn
Jul 31, 2012

What a sweet and wonderful idea! My Dad is in heaven but my Mom is still here. I'm thinking next January this will be a wonderful gift for her 79th year! Thank you for sharing this idea!

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Vicki Bailey
Aug 01, 2012

What a great idea!!!

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Amber
Aug 01, 2012

My dad is turning 70 in November. After my mom passing away this past Sept, being forced into early retirement soon after, and other things, this is a great idea for a big birthday and to bring a little light back into his life! Thank you so much!

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Lunesoleil
Aug 03, 2012

It is incredible as many letters of memories, a link that reinforce the feelings

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Jennifer
Aug 04, 2012

As the others have stated, I teared up reading this. What an incredible way to honor your father and to relive some of his best moments/memories of his life. I am definitely going to borrow this idea. Beautifully done. You dad must be so proud. Thank you for sharing.

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Buy Steroids
Aug 05, 2012

What an idea just amazing. Thanks for sharing this.

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jen
Aug 05, 2012

This has got to be the best idea I've ever heard! Thank you so much for sharing. I'm am going to do this this year for my parents, their birthdays are 11 days apart...but I'm going to need a LOT of envelopes...77 and 81! I better get started now, I only have 4 weeks!

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Mariana
Aug 07, 2012

I found this idea on Pinterest, and I am going crazy about it! My grandmother is turning 84 in a couple of weeks, and this is the BEST idea ever, thank you so much!

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Karen Hobson
Aug 08, 2012

I'm stealing this for both my parents 80th birthdays coming up. Obviously, I won't collect 80 memories but am sending a letter to his living siblings asking for memories from childhood and to a few of my mother's childhood friends asking for the same. I've even sent a letter to some of THEIR friends asking for memories of the both of them together. It will be interesting to read and to learn more about them in the younger days.

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Karen Hobson
Aug 08, 2012

I'm stealing this for both my parents 80th birthdays coming up. Obviously, I won't collect 80 memories but am sending a letter to his living siblings asking for memories from childhood and to a few of my mother's childhood friends asking for the same. I've even sent a letter to some of THEIR friends asking for memories of the both of them together. It will be interesting to read and to learn more about them in the younger days.

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Diana Hayes
Aug 09, 2012

Just wonderful. I saw his photo on Pinterest and I thought...seriously a letter ok I know we're digital but...so I clicked on it & have been totally inspired to do the same thing for my mum who is 84 next summer. THANK YOU!

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Sarah
Aug 09, 2012

Thank you for sharing this! I found this through pinterest and am so glad that I stumbled upon it! My dad is turning 65 next year and this will be the perfect present for the man that never wants anything. I can't wait to start. Thanks again for sharing and the inspiration!

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maria
Aug 10, 2012

Great idea! My mom inlaw for her father had everyone in the family write down there memories of him & she copied them all (orginals kept safely tucked away in a box) & put them on to scrapbook pages, she ended up filling a scrapbook, her dad, papa as we called him loved it!! & now thats hes passed away that book is cherised by all of us!
I loved the idea so much for my grandpa i had our side do the same & gave it to him for fathers day, my side is slightly bigger in numbers so i ended up with a scrapbook & half. THe first scrapbook, i used the front & back of an old my grandma(who had passed away a few months before i put it together) always meant to use. I also added mementos & letters & cards i found while we were going through stuff after grandma passed. I even had little notes my grandparents had written to eachother....i felt privlaged to share that & put it together!!!

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Kare Fletcher
Aug 11, 2012

What a great idea! My father-in-law is turning 80 in November. We will be having a family get together to celebrate his birthday. He is battling early stages if Alzheimer's. This is the perfect gift ever for him! Thank you and Pinterest for so much for this idea. We might have to tweak it some but receiving all the past memories of him is just perfect!

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fgdf
Aug 13, 2012

wooow....this is very gooood!

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Mariana
Aug 14, 2012

This was amazing! totally made my day my dad is a long ways away from 60 but this was really nice and I hope to remember this 20 years from now! Thank you for sharing!

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Sarah
Aug 14, 2012

Absolutely beautiful idea!

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Sarah
Aug 14, 2012

Absolutely beautiful idea!

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tammy
Aug 14, 2012

Great story!!! Very touching. I love it!! Where did you get those envelopes? That is if you don't mind sharing??? I would love to do that for my mom.

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sherry fredrickson
Aug 14, 2012

Great idea for a birthday. I did this for my parents 50 th anniversary. I included the letters in a scrapbook i made for them. They love sitting down and reading them.

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Fran
Aug 16, 2012

Our daughter sent me this pin and I love this idea! My husband has retired and I am having a surprise party for him with a no gift request, please send a memory. I am going to modify this to fit his career and also to send to his Army buddies. When I get the memories back I plan on putting them in an album and giving it to him as his gift from everyone. Thank you so much for sharing this great idea.

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Mare
Aug 16, 2012

I am floored over this unique and amazing idea. It is too late to do this for my father as he has past away years ago. But I am fortunate enough to be able to do this for my Mother. Thank you so very much for sharing this!

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Maxi
Aug 17, 2012

What a wonderful idea! I'm smiling and crying at the same time!

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sarah
Aug 17, 2012

That is so beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.
Good on you!

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Roxana
Aug 17, 2012

Thanks for sharing this I lost my best friend my mom a few yrs ago but I would have loved to give this to her I'm going to do it to my daughter because I find that is good to remember in the present.

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Roxana
Aug 17, 2012

Thanks for sharing this I lost my best friend my mom a few yrs ago but I would have loved to give this to her I'm going to do it to my daughter because I find that is good to remember in the present.

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Kaira
Aug 18, 2012

Wow! I will do this for christmas!

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Jerri
Aug 19, 2012

I love this idea! I am in the process of doing this for my Grandmother who is turning 75! How did you find all the people you sent this letter to? I want there to be a wide variety of friends, but I'm not sure how to find them all! Any ideas would be great. Thanks so much!

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Melissa
Aug 20, 2012

Thank you so much for sharing. Today is my moms 1st of 3 hard core chemo treatments. and as pick me up i have sent this idea on to all her friends and family to send her little memory pick me up to help her thru this journey,
Thanks again!!

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Rosemary
Aug 20, 2012

What an absolutely wonderful idea! It was so much fun to read about this. Thanks for sharing it.

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missy
Aug 21, 2012

Thank you for this...my father is turning 75 this year and he has been struggling recently with memory loss due to seizures and transient global amnesia. I think he would enjoy having these to read as the time goes on and he loses more of his own. Thank you for sharing

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Stacy
Aug 21, 2012

I found this on Pinterest and have to tell you I didn't expect that it would make me teary eyed...but it did! This is a wonderful idea & truly a beautiful thing you did for your dad.

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Cherilyn
Aug 23, 2012

Thank you for posting this...my Mom died recently and she was a very powerful woman with many many friends. I wanted to do something like this for the grandchildren (all of whom are adults)so they would have some great stories of their Nana...thanks for reminding me to send out the request.

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Wanda Huntsberger
Aug 23, 2012

Wow, I wish I could have done this for my momma & daddy before they died. Not only is it great for them. But when they are gone, it is something that you can look back on and relive their life and open up forgotten memories. This is such an awesome gift for anyone past fifty!

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Sandy
Aug 23, 2012

Hello!

I had seen this posted on Pinterest many times and just never took the time to investigate. Wow...I am so glad I took the time this morning to do so. What an incredible idea and what an incredible daughter you are! I don't think I have ever heard of a more thoughtful gift....the gift of memories! So many times we make light of how each of us impact another's lives. Even a small incident which may not be thought too much of at the time brings laughter and smiles to a person's face. I have had converstions with old friends about "remember when...." and they have brought warmth to my heart and laughter to the point of tears to my eyes. The gift you gave your father that day is priceless...and you as a daughter who is loving and thoughtful enough to think of such a gift. You are his greatest gift of all!

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Jessica
Aug 24, 2012

Thanks so much for sharing this story. I ran across this when Merrick posted her version on her blog. It's a great idea for a gift and we're doing it for my parents an my inlaws who are both celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year!

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michelle
Aug 24, 2012

My friend sent this to me to read as I had posted something about asking family and friends to do this same type of thing for my dads 94th BD. I hope I have the response you have had. Its extra touching for me to do this due to the fact our family lost our brother a couple weeks ago so before his 94th Bd he buried his son. Im inspired and so glad my friend sent me this to read. Wonderful

Michelle

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Patricia
Aug 26, 2012

What a wonderful post - It made ME rememember the best gift I have ever given, back in 1986.

It was my in-laws fifieth wedding anniversary and none of their four children lived near them, their anniversary was in the middle of the week - in February. So I sent out an annoucement of my in-laws anniversary, I sent it to family, friends, old neighbors,asking them to send a card along with any memories.

Boy! was I bowled over at the responds - my husband and I had more fun reading everyones stories, looking at pictures sent, etc. I was surprised at how everyone was so creative.

I put all the cards into a basket, along with two wine glasses, sparkling cider, and a gift card to Furrs Cafeteria. (their favorite spot) :)

My in-laws couldn't have been more surprised or happier. For years now we all continue to pull out the basket and read those cards.

Thanks for remindng me of my fond memory!

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