Julia Morgan's original drawings for our Clubhouse, Courtesy of Cal Poly Archives

NOVEMBER 2016 - Warm Memories, Links on a Chain by Cyndi Runstrom

November 14, 2016 1:12 PM | Linda Wilson (Administrator)

The beginning of November brings the Holidays ever so much closer. We've just finished greeting goblins at our doors, when we begin to hear Christmas Carols in our markets and stores. Thanksgiving often marks the start of the holiday countdown, but for me it is a holiday filled with warm memories. Although our family table is not blessed with an abundance of Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and Cousins, we still have a wonderful time gathering around to share a special meal.

When I share family history or a family story with my children, I am often fortunate to be able to share an object, picture or scrapbook page with them as my family was one of savers. One summer as I was helping my Mother's sister close up her home for a move to Cape Cod, she handed me two more very large scrapbooks. Covered with dust and stored in an old plastic blanket bag, I decided to set them aside and continue with more urgent details.

Later that September I caught a moment to return to the books and discovered wonderful treasures inside. They were from the 30's. There were paper art projects and drawings carefully crafted by children ages three and up. They were done by my Mother and her siblings and had been lovingly preserved in this set of scrapbooks by my Grandmother. One of them caught my eye. Faded from age was a paper chain. The links were stained with rust where they had been stapled and the tape had dried and yellowed, but inside a link was a message from the heart: "To mommy, this circle is my hands around you with a hug. love lizabeth".


As I prepared for Thanksgiving that year, the children were impatient and wanted to know how long until Christmas. We had bought them each an Advent Calendar with hidden treasure behind each door, but it would be about a week until the first of December when they could open the first doors. I told them again how long it would be and returned to setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner. I was searching for my special napkin rings and my thoughts drifted back to the paper chain in those scrapbooks. I quickly got out my collection of construction paper and began to cut strips from the colored paper. Then I carefully wrote a message on four of the strips…..a message from my heart to my loved ones. I let them know why I was thankful they were a part of my life. I stapled each and took them back to the table and used them as napkin rings.

When we sat down to enjoy our meal we began by reading the paper chains links. After the meal. I gave each of them an envelope with 30 more strips in it, one for each day until Christmas. They were to write on one strip each day…...something they were thankful for, something positive that happened that day, about a special friend, a happy thought, or something special about someone in our family. Each day we would staple them together, and by Christmas we had a beautiful paper chain to decorate our tree with. Christmas morning we sat together and enjoyed reading all the special messages on our paper chain. Most important we shared a wonderful memory with each other which continues, like a chain to link us together.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and your special families,



  • December 02, 2016 11:00 AM | Joyce Zorger
    Cyndi, dear,

    What a heartfelt story of your "chains of love". Every family needs "Memory Keepers" to strengthen those "chains". Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

    Blessed be to you from me. Joyce
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