A few years ago, I was delighted to discover my great-grandmother had kept a similar little book. It was given to her as a Christmas gift in 1881 – she was 14 years old. I have shared a few pages from the book above. Not only does the text in this book give me a glimpse of the young girl she once was, it also shows me she shared my fondness for pansies. I have warm memories of working with my grandmother (her daughter) to plant these little flowers in the old cement pig troughs in the back corner of our yard. Years later, when I married my husband in the nearby garden, we placed pots of pansies on the tables. I felt my grandmother’s presence in their deep, velvety faces. And here, in my great-grandmother’s little book, she offers a small sketch of the flowers above the word “Autographs.”
But I digress... What I’m really wondering is will my daughter have a similar keepsake to share with future generations? In this age of texting and social networking, young people are sharing even the most mundane aspects of their lives on a daily basis. Moving thirty miles no longer means a loss of contact with old friends – they are as close as a touch of a button. But how permanent is this new means of communication? Will these digital archives become the treasures of the future? Or will the ease of their creation and lack of tangibility decrease their sense of value? Will they simply disappear?