Thursday, 18 July 2013 14:34

Family Stories To Laugh About... Someday

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family stories traditions family storytellingOur memories can be a mixture of the happy and sad. Often those horrible, "we-will-laugh-about-it-later" stories can become some of our fondest memories. 


My husband and I were that couple that didn't smear the wedding cake into each other’s faces. That's why this "tradition" is so strange for us. We have this huge fake, but very life-like spider, don't know where we got it or how this even began, but my husband would hide it, where I would least expect it and of course I would jump and scream.


 This was all well and fine - until that fateful day when we were house hunting in rural Pennsylvania and ended up in an old farmhouse basement. The basement was unfinished and there was a hole in the foundation wall that leads to what was basically a huge dirt pile; as I leaned my head in to view it - the home owner, said


"Um, I think you should slowly back away." 

And, I am all like, "huh?'  I was very articulate back then. 


The owner grabs my arm and pulls me away from the hole...and that is when I saw it.

It was a HUGE spider and right next to my face.


 “HA. HA.” says I. “Great”, I think, another man with a fake spider sense of humor...until I noticed it was REAL. 


A spider with the body and legs bigger than my hand and it less than 3 inches from my face! 


I was so traumatized by my close encounter that I suffered from nightmares for days afterwards. Dreamt that a huge spider was carrying away my young and wrapped them in a cocoon to devour later...needless to say - we did not buy that house!

Ever since that incident my husband and I have taken turns, hiding the fake spider into each other’s belongings... inside of shoes, coat pockets, brief cases and pillows. The original was hid so well, that it is still waiting to be discovered - until then we are using Spidey II. 


family stories traditions family storytellingThis morbid tradition helps us connect with a memory that we can laugh about now, as well as create new memories built from it. I wanted to insert a clever picture of Spidey in his new hiding spot, but it looks like it is my turn to have him sprung on me and I haven't found him yet...oh goody!


"Family traditions are like spiritual and emotional cement in the foundation of a happy home. They create fond memories, and these memories bond us together as nothing else can."

"Traditions influence the way we live and the way we look at life. They may be practices or beliefs handed down from generation to generation, or new habits or patterns we establish in our own families. 


Family traditions may be quite personal practices, as simple as reading stories at bedtime, kissing the children goodnight at their bedside, or singing or playing games while traveling [or hiding fake spiders in each other’s drawers].

Or they may be more elaborate events like serving special foods on certain days, decorating the dinner table in a festive way, or taking a child on a weekend outing with one or both parents when he reaches a certain age.                                                                         

...Like habits, traditions are formed intentionally. They are not automatic, but require preparation, planning, and a combined effort."1


What traditions are you creating and passing on to the next generation?  (For ideas, check out our Traditions Journal)


1 "Traditions Worth Keeping," Ensign Magazine (March 1986); electronic edition, (]: accessed 14 July 2013), para.2,3,4,10).

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 August 2013 13:05
Valerie Elkins

Vlaerie is the CEO and founder of Advantage Genealogy and serves on the Board of Directors for both Story @ Home and for the Utah Genealogical Association. She utilizes her experience to blend research and technology with the art of storytelling, to help make the past come alive. Valerie believes that every family has an amazing family history full of stories of love and loss, guts and glory, victory and deafeat... along with a few skeletons in the closet. Finding those stories and learning to dance with them is her passion. Valerie is a Pinterest "pinja" and a blogger at Family Cherished. You can find Valerie on Twitter @elkinsvalerie.

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