My great-grandmother sat down on a cold, wintry Valentine’s Day in 1962 and wrote:
“I am thinking tonight of Alva as I last saw him there in the funeral chapel, lying there with closed eyes in his brown suit that he liked so well. His beautiful white hair combed up with a “roach” as he called it.
“His face looked young again and the lines were gone but as I touched his face, it was not warm as it had always been, the flesh was cold. I shall never forget how patient and humble he was those last few weeks while he lived. I hope if I get to the place where I am not able to do for myself that I will be patient and as little trouble to care for as he. I have always been so thankful that I could care for him at home as long as I did.”
I can imagine her loneliness as she sat at the kitchen table thinking about Alva, her husband of 50+ years. He died three years before she wrote this. It’s not a traditional love letter, but it’s a beautiful tribute to a lifelong partner.
We treasure memories of our spouses and partners. Good ones. Bad ones. And everything between. It’s overwhelming to think about recording all those memories. Instead of writing a novel, start with one simple story. Write down your memories of how you met your spouse or partner.
Write your ‘how we met’ story
There are a couple key questions you should answer in your story about how you met your spouse or partner:
- When did you meet your spouse or partner? (Include the year, month and date if you know them.)
- Where did you meet him or her? (Details please! City, state and exact location are mandatory, but what other details can you remember? Paint a picture of that moment in time by describing as much as you can remember.)
- What activity or event brought you together? (Was it a chance meeting in a hallway or classroom? Did you sit next to him or her on an airplane? Was it a blind date? A friend’s wedding?)
- Who else was there? (What relatives or friends were there to witness this momentous event? Was there a stranger there that you remember for some reason?)
- What do you remember about that meeting? (This is where it gets good. Very few of us know we’re meeting a future spouse or partner, so what did you think of him or her that first time you met? How did he or she react to you?)
Ask your spouse for details
Don’t worry about making this story perfect, just write it down! Add details as they come to you. Cross stuff out and rewrite it. Write everything you can remember and share it with your spouse or partner. Ask him or her to add details or their point of view.
Now combine your memories into one story. Look for a couple photos of you and your spouse from that time. Print several copies of the story and photos, and share them with your family. They’ll love receiving it! And you’ll love recording and preserving this important chapter in your life story.
Need a special gift idea for a granddaughter or grandson? Tuck your “How we met” story into a wedding card or engagement gift. Include it with a special heirloom you’d like to pass on, like a gift your spouse bought you or a love letter you wrote him or her. Buy a keepsake box for a new grandchild and begin filling it with your legacy stories.
If you’d like to record more of your memories, check out our Things You Need to Know Kit. It’s a step-by-step guide to help you record and preserve your favorite memories from childhood to favorite traditions. It also helps you organize your important financial and household information in one handy place.