The Telling of Memories

Do your children know stories of your childhood?

Do they know what you did on hot summer days when you were a kid?

Have they heard about your school days and your classmates?

Do they know how Grandma and Grandpa met?
How their Mom and Dad met?

Do they know your stories?

Since Tris passed away, this has become very real and important to me. He was a story teller and the stories he knew are gone with him. His children sit with me now and say, “Tell me a story about my Daddy!” They are thirsty for more about him, they drink in every story I can remember and always want another one. When my brain is dry, they say, “Tell me this one again!”

 My own children listening to these stories have found out more about my early years in the last nine months, then they have their entire life. Sometimes they are amazed, sometimes they laugh, sometimes they are horrified. 🙂

I have dug deeper in my memories then ever before and just when I think I have told the very last story I have, something triggers in my brain and I can tell a new one. They don’t all have to be exciting happenings, every day stories about how life was back in your day interest them too.

Tell your children your stories or they will never know them.


This would be a memory that was created for me, not one I remember on my own since I am the toy chewing little baldie in the photo. I do have lots of good memories of times at Grandpa’s with my cousins.

Grandkids barbies

Going to Grandma’s was a highlight in itself, but being able to go upstairs and dig out the Barbies just topped it off. Most of the clothes had been sewn by Sandy, so we had lots of options as you can see. Usually it was just the girls in the house playing with them, but on occasion, when the boys were bored, we got them to help too.


Grandma was a firm believer in a morning break. Around 10 o’clock she pulled out the Pepsi and usually had something to go with it. If you were lucky, she made homemade donuts. She would take the snack out to the guys in the shop and feed any grandkids hanging around.

Grandma Shannon Tristan

Grandpa and Grandma always had all kinds of feathered fowl running around the place. There were chickens out back in their little cages, others were in the old barn laying eggs. There were pigeons in the top of the barn, peacocks roosting in the trees and guineas pecking at the ground.

The peacocks were Grandpa’s pride and joy. If the family was down to the farm in the evening, we kids usually played on the front porch. When it was getting close to sunset, Gramps would open the window and yell at the kids to go play in the backyard so the peacocks can roost! The peacocks had chosen the tree in the front lawn to roost in and if we were running around there, they were scared to fly up and get settled for the night.

Leonard Shannon

From little on up, we were raised on 3-wheelers and dirt bikes. Before I was able to drive I went on rides with my uncles, but it didn’t take long for me to be begging to learn to drive by myself.

(I added a few pieces from stories I wrote for the kids.)

    Sometimes when our 3-wheeler didn’t run or something, we would have to ask Ern if we could take his for a drive. We were always scared to ask him.  One time we were at the cabin and Miriam and I needed to go to the house to get something. We bravely asked Ern and he let us drive his 3-wheeler. On the way back, we tried to go up a big hill and tipped the 3-wheeler on the side. I’m sure you can imagine how scared we were to have to tell him about that!

kids - dogs

Beside driving ATV’s, we always had pets around. I can’t remember a time that we were without some kind of pet. We had big dogs, little ones, puppies to play with and a multitude of cats. We had a racoon that we raised from a baby. Once he was grown he left, but he would come back occasionally to visit. I can’t remember his name, but our cousins had a coon called Dune Buggy that used to run around inside the house. Thanks to Mother, our coon had to live outside.

    After while, Mom quit raising plants in her greenhouse. I guess she thought she had enough work without that. Since the building was empty, Dad decided he should make use of it. He bought 3 fluffy Pomeranian dogs and they lived in the green house. These dogs all had baby puppies and my oh my, did we ever love them. We would always go to the greenhouse with Dad and help take care of the puppies. Sometimes we had to give them milk from a tiny little bottle. When they were old enough we would bring them up to the house and play with them on the porch. Of course, we let them come in the house too.  They would always sneak under the couch and hide all the way along the back so we couldn’t reach them. We had to move the couch and try to catch them or use a yard stick and dig them out. We always had dogs running around outside somewhere, just like Grandpa does now.

Grandkids & Wilbur

Our cousins also had a goat named Wilbur, of which we were very jealous.
Who wouldn’t want a goat for a pet? (besides our Mom!)

      We liked to be at Clyde’s when the milkman came to pick up the milk. He always had some kind of candy or gum for us in his truck. We would watch him hook up all his hoses and move the milk from the bulk tank to his truck. Sometimes he would let us flip the switches on his truck to get things started.

      We also liked to be at Clyde’s when the veterinary came. Dr. Beard was his name and he would stop in to check on a cow that was sick. One time he had to have surgery on a cow’s stomach and Miriam and I were watching. He had us hold the light for him while he did the surgery. We were sure we were the best help he ever had. I’m not sure if he agreed. 


Back in 2008, my aunt and I had a brainstorm. We needed a family book, a book full of old pictures, stories, things written down to preserve memories. I tackled the project of putting it together and she started calling people asking for stories and photos.

Stoll's - Owen

Each child of the original family had a page with a piece they had written. Each family had a page also with memories from the grandchildren. Other pages were photos and stories of pets, old places, corn days, the cabin, waiting on Dad, the cane mill, a tribute to the parents of this tribe, memories from their Aunts and many more stories. I scanned hundreds of old pictures and put page after page together. Since there are 13 children in this family, the book got bigger and bigger. We ended up with a 50 page book.

Stoll's - Memories

Stoll's - Pets

We inherited the pet thing honestly! Our dogs and cats were tame compared to the animals they drug in and kept.

Stoll's - O family

Today my kids like to get this book out and read through the stories of their great Aunts and Uncles. I know these stories now because they took the time to write them down and preserve the memories!

Shannon Sam

    When we were little, Grandpa and Grandma Stoll would come driving up in their truck. There would be fishing poles sticking out of the back and we knew what that meant. We would hop in the back and away we would go to the cabin. Grandma would get all the fishing stuff out and haul it down to the pond.

     Grandpa would start putting worms on all of our hooks and then toss his own line in the water. Grandma would arrange all of her stuff and settle down in a lawn chair or on a bucket close to the water. We baited and tossed lines all night and I don’t remember if we caught much or not, but Grandpa and Grandma always did.

Write down your memories.
Dig out old pictures.
Preserve history.
Take new pictures.
Make new memories.
Your children will thank you some day!





3 thoughts on “The Telling of Memories

  1. Thanks for the encouragement! Every night when we are tucking our kiddos into bed”tell us a story when you were a little girl/boy” we ran out of stories months ago and they don’t understand how a memory can sometimes just be a one sentence story. But they LOVE those stories, like I said thanks for the encouragement, I will try to think up a new one for tomorrow night:)


  2. I enjoyed this post. I think I know who some of those cousins are.:) (Hi!:))
    I would love to have a scrapbook like you n your aunt got together, of my family. Hhmm. Sounds like a big project, but it would definitely be worth it.


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