Tuesday, April 9, 2013

70 Years of Memories

Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest?! I find the neatest ideas on there. When I saw this idea on there I knew I immediately wanted to do it! The original idea was for a 60th Birthday but with Cody's Grandma celebrating her 70th we just adapted it by collecting 10 more memories :)

The Idea:
Secretly collect a memory letter from friends and family of the special birthday person! In my case, Connie was turning 70 so we collected 70 letters. 

The letter I sent to her 70 closest friends & family:
Connie (last name) will be celebrating her 70th birthday in March. To celebrate her birthday, we'd like to put together a little surprise to let her know that her nearest and dearest are thinking of her. We're going to try and create "70 Years of Memories" by filling 70 envelopes with a memory her friends and family have of her.
And this is where you come in!
If you have a spare moment, we would be so grateful if you would write down (or type up) a favorite memory you have of Connie and put it in the mail to us. 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.
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 she reads all the memories people have of her! I know her birthday may seem far away still but it can take some time to get 70 letters organized, placed in envelopes and labeled before the big day. (Please don't forget to keep it a surprise until then!) 

Please send your memory of Connie to:
Cody & Tonya Sweatman
(my address)
or (my email)
Cody & Tonya Sweatman

Patience & Persistence:
Then we waited. A few letters trickled in right away and then nothing. I did have to send out multiple messages (via Facebook, email, or good ole fashion mail) to remind people of this very special project. I learned that the earlier you start doesn't seem to make a difference. People like the pressure of a deadline and most of the letters came in the week before this gift was presented. 

I simply put each memory letter into the matching envelopes (purchase link below) and then simply numbered the envelopes 1 thru 70 with number stickers. I tied the stack together with a piece of twine and attached a label. *I did provide a printed key of who wrote which memory for a quick reference later in case she wanted to read a certain memory again (which you can see her daughter holding in the 2nd picture of her reading the letters below)

One person sent this really neat booklet: 1943 Remember When...A Nostalgic Look Back In Time. It was too big to fold into an envelope so I just counted this as an extra and presented it to her separately. 

What I learned about Connie:
  • She is an amazing cook and everyone loves her food!
  • She opens her house up to a lot of people out of love, even if the timing is bad
  • She cheats at the game of Jacks by THROWING the ball straight up in the air instead of bouncing it!
  • She loves having fun and never seems low on energy!
  • She loved people doing her hair even if it turned out terrible!
  • Her siblings vote her to be the "favorite"
  • She is a dedicated Christian, loves her church, and works hard to understand God's message!
  • She raised 4 amazing daughters, loved her husband with all her heart, & never gives up!
Sorry in advance about the video and picture quality as they were taken with someone's phone since I couldn't be there to present them to her.

She was completely beside herself reading these letters! There was laughter and tears. She is truly blessed to have such great friends and family in her life to help her celebrate and remember the past 70 years!

I purchased 2 boxes of envelopes from Amazon here:

Mead #6 3/4 Air Mail Envelopes, 40 Count (74212)

I only needed 1 package of number stickers from Hobby Lobby:
3/4" Black Franklin Number Stickers

Happy copying! This one is worth it!!

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