PRT164 – Eight Years Lost

This week we’re talking to someone who lost eight years of memories!

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  • rosann

    Another fabulous show. I was riveted by Jackie’s story and how she is dealing and coping with her challenges. I just wanted to say how admirable and brave it is to speak publicly about any health issue, let alone something that isn’t already part of our vernacular. We know and talk about things like cancer, alzheimer’s, etc. But TGA?This is where awareness begins and I thank you for sharing it.

  • Marie-Pierre

    Hi Izzy and Noell! What a great show that brought me tears and chills and that got me thinking differently (again!) about my scrapbooking. The question: what do I want to remember from the past year? with a new perspective, knowing that I might need these memories remembered someday, and also the part about telling more….as when Jackie said that she read the story but wanted more, always more got me thinking, a lot!! Often I will write my journaling on my page and when I want to share it online I have to explain the story so that my blog readers can understand it, well, that’s a sign that my journaling is not what it should be, or that it’s simply not enough, as Jackie said. Thanks so so much to Jackie for sharing this very personal story of hers. Thank you SO MUCH! (Oh and I wanted to mention that the link to Jackie’s blog doesn’t work, but that I managed to find her through the address she mentioned at the end of the show). Great show!! Thanks guys!

  • Link is fixed! Thank you!

    And yes — that’s something I’ve said a lot: if you find yourself needing to explain your layouts online or to friends looking at your pages, then that might be a good indicator that your story is still missing.

  • Marie-Pierre

    What about in Project life? Do you have enough space to elaborate enough?

  • GREAT show! Really enjoyed listening to Jackie, Debbie, Izzy, and you Noell and the discussion around being in the moment and capturing the everyday. Also, besides being super fun, Jackie is wise and generous, giving so much to so many (seriously, I’m always in awe) and I LOVE how we got a glimpse of these bits of her through the show, too.

  • C.Robin

    Hi Noell and Izzy,What a great show.Jackie’s story was so moving. I was so impressed by her courage. Thanks Robin

  • Wow! Just WOW! This was such a great show. I’ll have to listen it again but now I have to tell you some stories.
    The story of Jackie (thank you for sharing it) was the right thing to hear at this time of my life. (It’s the first time I’m sharing this publicly)My mother was diagnosed wtih altzheimer’s disease this past year. I urge all storytellers to record every little bit of the stories you know, in any kind of form. You never know when you or some you care for will forget. A great tool I used and continue using is this (attended the class and bought the ebook). I made a notebook with the questions and answered everything I know. I had one made for my mother and for my father and gave them to fill them on their own. But the disease struck…every little thing they wrote is precious to me.
    As for the lady(or was it a man?) Debbie mentioned, I would never burn my journals, no matter how silly/heartbreaking/empty/you-name-it they are. I’m keeping a daily journal since I was a 5th grader (now lets say I’m mid 30 y.o.) and I have them in a box and don’t look at them. But… here’s an unexpected turn! My daughter is a 5th grader now. As I was discussing one day with my older relatives about how she acts like a pre teen, how she behaves more mature than her classmates, they made a comments that she behaves more or less like me when I was her age. That was an epiphany for me! That comment made me bring down that box of journals, to see how I was at her age. I’ve read page after page 4 journals and aside from the memories they brought up I understood better the behaviour of my daughter. And yes, we have much in common and no “parenting” book would have explained to me better some things. I’ve never imagined that my journals would serve a purpose like that or any purpose at all… but it was something that came natural to me. And since I begun scrapbooking even more…

    Sorry for such a big post but the discussion made me do it :) thank you all for such a great show!

  • Bethany Rielage

    I loved this episode, and I really admire Jackie for sharing her story! I can’t imagine going through that (especially multiple times!), and I’m thankful for her insight and her live-for-today attitude. This show really encouraged me to tell more of my story and also to take more pictures of me with my kids. That is definitely something that I don’t do enough! Thank you so much for this episode and all the Roundtable discussions! I really feel like I have so many new friends since I’ve started listening – and with the fantastic Paperclipping membership too. Keep up the great work and motivation!

  • Marie-Pierre

    Love your post Kiki! :) I did it, I through all my journals away. I had a really bad and scary phase (emotionally) when I was a teen and I read some of the pages I wrote when I was 15-18 and I had to get rid of that! I didn’t want anybody to find it! It’s a hard thing to do and I did it in the moment, without thinking. Sometimes I think back and would like to have them to do what you just said: understand my kids better (all tough they are no teen yet), but I know it was the best thing to do for me and for everyone around me, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. Now I scrapbook….. and as it was discussed already on another show as Noell read my comment, sometimes I read my pages and think, oh my, it’s embarrassing! But I guess that as a grown up I can write these things, even the less pretty ones and that they might serve a purpose later when my daughters are bigger. I’ll try not to get rid of them and stand behind my thoughts and feelings for once!! :) Marie

  • Debbie Reiser

    Hello from God Armpit AKA Rock Springs Wyoming. I have never left a comment but I am an addict PCR listener. I just HAD to leave a comment on this show after hearing about that woman that burned all her journals. I have kept a journal for a while (first entry Dear Diary Today is my bday UGH all I got was this stupid journal. I didn’t get anything I asked for. Dated April 14 1983 I was ten). I have written in a journal everyday since. I have written EVERYTHING. I didn’t hold anything back. I would be horribly embarrassed if some people picked them up and read them and they might even get me arrested HAHAHA (kidding maybe). So I just think that woman didn’t want her journals to fall in the wrong hands so she burned them and tried to make it a big statement. Like if she was a bit slutty and she didn’t want the new love of her life to find out these slutty things. The woman that burned her journals need to listen this this show with Jackie on it and then she would think twice about burning all her journals.

    It was a great show

    Closing my comment now with porn music

    Brown Chicken Brown Cow

  • Thank you Marie :) I never kept diaries for purpose, it just happened, it just felt right. As for your decision to through them…well you had your reasons ;) what’s gone by is gone, and it is what it is. (and yes I remember the other show you mention.) I think that everything is perspective… if something is embarassing (or whatever) today maybe will be hilarious tomorrow and vice versa…but in the end, well…that’s life :) decisions decisions lol! I just keep evidence of existence for my own joy. If someone wants to keep it or through it when I’ll be stardust it’s their decision. and who knows…maybe I’ll even through all of that away myself when/if I feel like it ;)

  • Laura Hedgecock

    Thanks so much for including as one of your picks. I can’t wait to read more here at your site.

  • McKenzie McGehee

    Incredible show! It was like This American Life with a scrapbooking twist. Jackie, Thank you so much for sharing this story.

    For Izzy: If you like cool/nerdy T-shirts, you should check out

  • Thank you Jackie – your story is so amazing. Thank you for sharing, I know I’ll be scrapping a little differently since hearing your story.

  • Awesome Show!

    I loved what Debbie noticed about her own life – that she used to put more effort into celebrating everyday and that she had gotten away from that. I have done this too and want to get back putting effort into and to finding joy in celebrating the little things.

    This episode gave me the same kinds of thoughts as I had when I read Randy Pausch’s book “The Last Lecture” (there is a youtube video you can watch on his talk too): thinking about starting with the end in mind kind of thing and how to use scrapbooking as a way to notice what is going on in life and how to improve life because of that observation.

    I loved that Jackie said she used her FOREVER ACCESS scrapbooking classes to re-learn some scrapbooking things! Like Noell, I also can’t get Jackie’s story out of my head!

    Thank you Jackie for sharing your story! You are so inspiring.

  • P.S. On an unrelated note, Noell mentioned family history scrapbooking in the show and I’m still doing that – I’ve got a “Century Scrapbook” album that I’ve been working on where I’m doing one page per year for 1900- now. It is a fun way to take the family history thing in small bites. Also, if you ever do a show on family history scrapbooking, I’d recommend Lisa Louise Cook as a guest as she does a genealogy podcast.

  • That’s a huge compliment. We’re huge fans of This American Life. In fact, I think Izzy just said to me that they should interview Jackie for that show.

  • Debbie Piercey

    I rarely post comments. I usually forget to. But I loved this show with Jackie’s story. What a meaningful reminder not to let any of our everyday treasures slip by to someday be forgotten. We may not suffer from an extreme bout of memory loss as Jackie did, (or does), but so many things do leave our brain to let something new come in. Don’t let a memory that tells our story be one of those to be forever forgotten. Keep up the wonderful work Izzy and Noell!

  • Cara Vincens

    Wow! I don’t what else to say about Jackie’s story! Thanks for the great show and thanks to Jackie for sharing her story! It really made me rethink about the stories I want to tell and how to I want to tell them.
    I was intrigued by the lady who burned her journals. While I wouldn’t have the guts to do it, I love her reasons for doing it. I googled her after I listened and found some food for thought. I agree with Debbie that she may have done this (or at least posted about it) for the shock factor, because it sells, but it made me think. She said it made her more aware of how insignificant we all are on the planet and so she became more daring, honest and present in her work and life. Seeing myself in the bigger picture makes me brave too! I like her ideas and being true to who I am and being more in the here and now would be wonderful benefits to such a big sacrifice. But, scrapbooking has already made me savour the present moment more. I’m actually looking for scrappable moments, so I am more aware of those magic times as they happen and can really enjoy them. She also said ‘Do not give your past the power to define your future’ LOVE that!

  • Crystal D

    Loved the deep insights brought on by Jackie’s incredible story. Hopefully we can all focus a little more on today, letting go of what is not important, and doing what is best for ourselves and our loved ones. Please pass along my thanks to Jackie for sharing her experiences.
    BTW: I also want to thank Izzy for being on the show, because you thanked the ladies, but not him. Definitely a better show with his perspective represented.

  • Thank you so much Izzy and Noell for continuing to produce riveting podcasts every week! I’m so thankful to Jackie for sharing her story to help the rest of us put things in perspective.

    I did want to offer an additional perspective on the woman burning her journals that was discussed on the show. In the context of this show, when we’re all thinking about how hard it would be to lose our memories as Jackie shared her story of losing 8 years of her life, burning journals is absolutely horrifying. But on past shows, a theme that comes up over and over again when discussing documenting the negative or difficult times in life is the possible negative consequences of that documentation being read by others. There’s a major difference between journaling for memory keeping and journaling to purge feelings or work through negative times in your life. I’ve considered getting rid of my journals from my teenage years, when I dealt with severe depression, but decided to keep them to help myself be more understanding in the event that my children go through something similar. I also feel like I’m past those things, so I don’t feel the need to take a symbolic action. But if I were trying to move past them, then “killing the monsters of the past” by destroying the journals could be a very important way to move forward.

    I didn’t search for the article, so I’m not sure if the woman’s motivations were genuine, but I don’t want anyone to feel guilty about destroying the past when keeping those memories could have a possible negative impact on the future.

    P.S. If journals are a mix between purging and memory keeping, one could always go through and cover up passages that are not to be shared by gluing paper scraps on top or marking passages out with paint or permanent marker..

  • Shimelle Laine

    Jackie, your story is amazing, and what really brought this home to me is how you are so humble in how you tell it. This is the sort of stuff that turns up in made-for-tv movies and they milk every extreme of the emotion. How you tell this in such a simple way, that this is part of your life and you keep going and create ways to make the best of it… you have really given me a new perspective. I love reading studies about memory and how it affects us, yet this is something all new to me. Thank you so much for sharing your story. <3

    Now… the unpick of the week (lol). I popped over the read the post (I know *of* her, but she is not someone I follow regularly, if that makes sense?) out of curiosity because I am a former journal burner. OH MY! But not in the same sense that she has written at all. I kept moody, over-the-top journals in my teenage years, and when I was deciding what to take with me when I moved away for university, I had a looked and realised they weren't going to do me any good in my 'new' life, and I surely didn't want to leave them at home for my mother or my little sister to find and read! Burning them was cathartic, but there is one big difference between what I wrote in those journals and what I keep in my scrapbooks: my teenage journals were nothing but the negatives. Hello adolescence! The stuff that would motivate me to write was the stuff I couldn't just say aloud – boy trouble, disagreements with my mum or my teachers, that high school struggle to balance being true to one's self and being one of the cool kids (for the record, I never really made it to that category, no matter what I tried). For whatever reason, happy stuff didn't lead me to write in those books. I actually have photos of several of the happy things, so maybe that was a logical split even in the pre-digital age? But at 18, I took a look at it all, dismissed it as awkward and negative and painful, and destroyed the lot. I had a real rule of thumb that helped me decide – it felt like a personal epiphany when I worked it out – I literally decided if I didn't ever remember those things happening, I would be okay with that.

    I probably didn't think of it in such a literal way as in Jackie's situation, but when I compare those journals to my scrapbooks now, there's no question in mind that the scrapbooks are what I would want to keep, and I would still be okay with not having those journals. It has, however, made me think about taking the moments that had the most learning experience from the negativity – like the 'old school' teacher I had who ridiculed me for being a girl who was good at maths and science and how I eventually had to fight back – are stories I should write with my current perspective and get them into my albums. It makes perfect sense as well, as even my husband has asked me to explain how I took such a u-turn in my interests around age seventeen. But the memories that were just negative and no real learning experience are certainly not worth the time to relive it and document it.

    Now… I think you're right about the unpick writer: she wanted to make a statement and get you to click by being extreme. I disagree in so many things in that post – I am a very nostalgic person (anyone would be able to tell that by looking in our kitchen cupboards, as most of the dishes are older than us), and that idea that history is malleable makes my bones ache because it immediately makes me think of political whitewashing that tries to make big wrong-doings into little issues with a few carefully selected words. Yes, our perspective changes and we can find good in a bad situation from our past if that will help us, but it doesn't change what happened. I don't think I consider that past malleable. But I do understand the points where she indicates these journals were filled with pain and no longer good to her. I suppose that brings us back to the journaling techniques that have been mentioned on the show recently, like writing something down for the emotional healing, then cutting it up and stitching it into an unreadable mess. Then she says one of her favourite things in life is that moments are fleeting; I find one of my favourite things in life is remembering the very best of those fleeting moments, and I'm grateful scrapbooking gave me an outlet that motivated me to write down that happy stuff and not just the melancholy stuff of all those years ago.

    Now… scrapbooking world, please don't turn on me for burning those dogeared mead notebooks in 1996!

  • Shimelle Laine

    I left this open on my computer this afternoon, as I wanted to be sure this was something I wanted to say before I hit post. Now I’ve read Megan’s comment and she says this so much better and more concise. Many high-fives, Megan.

    (And Mrs. Corder, I apologise. You told me sixteen years ago that the best thing I could do for myself as a writer is learn to be more concise. I continue to fail you there, but I still hear your voice in my head, at least.)

  • Thank you so much Shimelle! That means so much coming from you. Thank you so much for your comment, it makes me feel better to know that another scrapbooker sees my perspective.

    I also appreciate that you clicked over to evaluate the journal burner. After your paraphrasing, I probably won’t click over. Sounds like it will get me fired up! I’m also very nostalgic (all scrapbookers are, right?), not just about my memories, but about history. My home is filled with things from the past, too. And nothing makes me madder than “whitewashing” history. For example, our family tradition is to read the “real” story of American Thanksgiving on the holiday before heading to extended family parties- Hah!

  • Gina

    This was a wonderful show. I thought this was an interesting topic but unsure how it would relate to scrapbooking – duh! Of course – memorykeeping!! I have such a horrible memory and have forgotten so much in my life. Maybe I’m typical, maybe not. I have literally forgotten I’ve travelled places. Usually trips are pretty memorable, right? I just LOVE the method that Jackie uses – “what do I want to remember about this year” or day or week or trip or anything! Thank you so much. I’m going to try and start journaling this way.
    On another note, I threw away my 3-4 notebooks of journals from when I was a teenager. I just tossed them – partly because I didn’t want anyone to find them and read them. I did this when I was about 30 without reading through them again. I SO regret that!! While I’m still not sure I want anyone reading them, I often want to read them myself especially as my kids get to be teenagers. I think it would help me relate to what they’re going through and help talk to them. So, that woman you were talking about who burned her journals…how ridiculous – big mistake in my opinion.

  • Heather Dubarry

    Wow! What an important reason to scrapbook! Hearing this story was just so shocking, but at the same time, hearing how calmly Jackie and her family has dealt with this, not once, but THREE times! I am simply impressed with them all.

    My main reason for scrapbooking has always been a rather morbid one. My father died when I was 15, and when I became a parent, I knew I wanted to document as much as I could about our lives as a family, and my own life and family history, just in case.

    I definitely need to reevaluate and go through the pages I’ve already made, and think about whether I have told the stories I want to make sure I and my family remember. Thank you so much to you and Jackie for sharing this story.

  • wow… amazing story! makes you really think about what you want to remember and capture in life…

  • Margaret

    What a great show and thanks to Jackie for sharing her story with us and another reason to scrapbook. I so love the roundtable and look forward to seeing what each weeks show brings, Many thanks for your time and efforts in bringing this show to us.

  • Lucy Farrugia

    When I first saw this topic, I wondered what it could be, and I’ll admit I initially didn’t expect to get what I did from it.

    My Mum has suffered from TGA, so I was not expecting to hear of it on here as it’s not something I’ve heard mentioned much by other people. We are lucky that my mum has never lost more than an afternoon’s worth of stuff, say a couple of hours. I didn’t realise it could spread to being years missing… It certainly gave me something to think about. It started about 12 years ago, and we also noticed patterns of 4/5 years before it happened again. She has never recovered those hours she lost as far as I know, but it was more a case of she’d not know how she’d got to where she was. For example she was out shopping, and then someone found her in the car park of where she lived by her car not knowing how she had got there or why she was standing there.

    It was really interesting to hear someone else talk about it, and to realise how severe it can be. I will certainly be following Jackie’s story and looking into it further as you never know what the future holds for my family.

    Thanks for having such a different topic that I would never have expected to hear about.

  • Cindy_deRosier

    I totally agree! She’s be an outstanding guest.

  • Ldmccarty

    If I told friends that a Scrapbook podcast could be so philosophical, they’d likely not believe me. What a great show! Proof of a valuable life. It’s deep-seated in the human psyche to matter. Lots to think about here. Living in the past vs present vs future. Thanks Noell and Izzy and guests.

  • ladywing

    If there ever has been a reason to to tell the stories… I always remember that at some point, as we age, Alzheimer’s could be an issue. We watched my mother-in-law struggle with it and constantly ask us who the people in her photos were. But we all only knew a part of her stories – and thru a lot of ancestry research we’re filling in some holes – but it would have been more meaningful if her thoughts and dreams were included in those stories.

  • Vicki J

    I have been scrapping for over a decade and there are times that I wonder why. I started out because I wanted the “story” to be with my photos. Then I got into the artistic side. Then I felt the story was important to leave to future generations…. recently I started to wonder if it was really worth my time- sure I love paper and glue but as I get older and my family changes there are less opportunities to share what I create. Maybe I should let the hobby go?
    Well wowser– this podcast hit me square in the head… I need that story even if its just so someone can remind me later in life what a great family I have

  • Becky Pospical

    I’ve been listening to back shows and knew that I wanted to listen to this one. I’m only 20 minutes into the show and I just can’t even begin to imagine going through that myself. I’m the type of person who can cry at a tv commercial, LOL. So I’m sure it will take me a while to get through this episode.
    Jackie, I just have tomsaynthat you are amazing to be able to work through this and share your experiences. Such an inspiration for the rest of us to get those memories recorded!