“Prune Creek and Other Memories,” Ensign, Aug. 2002, 72
As I began to organize and write our family’s history, I realized my memories of each of our five children, now grown, weren’t complete or accurate any longer. Since I wanted our history to bring back memories as well as contain dates and places, I made up a questionnaire for each of our children to fill out and return to me.
The questionnaire contained a number of different categories. The first was “favorite toys.” One of the children listed a toy fort, and I recalled the day my husband and I drove into Billings, Montana, to purchase it.
A favorite activity appeared on two boys’ questionnaires as “dirt clod wars.” I recalled all the neighborhood boys gathering in a vacant lot, choosing up sides, and throwing dirt clods. My boys came home dirty but happy.
Two other lists were “favorite places we went” and “favorite things we did.” The children included our trip to Spokane for the World’s Fair, camping on Prune Creek, and visiting the beaches of northern California.
Under the heading of “favorite food,” I noticed that the broccoli haters of the past now enjoy eating it as adults. Asking the children to list the names of their friends and their favorite ward activities brought back memories and added useful data to our history.
The five children also remembered a variety of illnesses and injuries. Reading their comments helped me recall the time when three of them had the measles, the family bout with chicken pox, and several trips to the emergency room for sprained ankles or broken bones.
An important part of the questionnaire called for “favorite pets.” I remembered the dogs, most of the cats, a donkey named Stanley Jack, a mare named Red Lady and her colt Charley Horse, and our racing pigeons. But I’d forgotten about the hamsters, the guppies, a parakeet, and a garter snake I found one morning in John’s bed after he left for school.
Besides giving me these memories from their childhoods, our children have laughed and reminded each other of many do-you-remember-the-time stories. Now, as parents, they have shared these recollections with their own children. Our family memories have given us perspective and appreciation for the great blessing we have enjoyed of being a family.—Catherine R. Slaughter, Bountiful Seventh Ward, Bountiful Utah South Stake