Keepsake by Marilyn Koop is a must-have for your library. A friend gave me a copy the other day and I’ve been totally captivated by it. Each page contains a photograph of time-worn hands cradling a loved keepsake. On the page opposite is a cameo history of the person, a brief story behind the keepsake, and words of advice. There are twenty portraits in the collection. All save two were of people living at the Wellington Terrace, an assisted care residence near Fergus, Ontario.
Marlene Creates, a Newfoundland environmental artist and poet has written of the book:
When objects are keepsakes, they relate most to our hands and our sense of touch. In Marilyn Koop’s photographs, hands are as eloquent as faces. On first glance, many of the cherished objects being held by these elderly people seem quite modest … But on reading these elders’ stories, it turns out that…[these keepsakes] are important not because of their monetary value but because of their history and meaning. I am struck by the profound human caring and gratitude in these stories. The keepsakes are stand-ins for lost loved ones and times past. Through Marilyn Koop’s photographs and the brief life stories she has gathered, we are given the real value of these keepsakes.
As a personal historian, I see a number of ways Keepsake can be of value:
- a gift for special clients
- in workshops as an example of creative story telling
- to awaken care facility administrators to the potential of life story projects with their own residents
- a source for reflection on aging, keepsakes, and remembrance
Contact Marilyn Koop directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: Cdn $24.00 includes postage and handling.
Images by permission of Marilyn Koop Copyright 2009
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