They're called "scrapbookers" and resident Jennifer Howland is one of a growing population of hobbyists who fill albums with paper-thin memories. Howland helped add yet another layer to the pastime, however, in contributing to a scrapbook just for scrapbookers that was released in July "Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker's Soul: Stories to Remember."
"It's therapeutic," Howland said of scrapbooking. "They look really nice and I think that the people that you feature in your scrapbooks really enjoy it. It's meaningful and it's relaxing."
Howland contributed two personal essays to Chicken Soup's collection of short stories, poems, and drawings. The first one, "A Scrapper's Perspective," describes Howland's grandmother and the memories she lost after developing Alzheimer's disease. Howland wrote that she regretted that no scrapbook exists that documents her grandmother's life.
"She survived her own war of poverty by digging for food in abandoned gardens. ... Looking back, I wish I'd captured little details. ... So many missed memories. ... I won't let it happen again," Howland wrote.
Her second piece, "Quotes, Poems and Titles," reads like a pep talk for would-be scrapbookers.
"Jot it all down. Jot everything down ... you're capturing memories ... memories that we all know fade too fast," wrote Howland.
Fifteen scrapbooks fill shelves in Howland's home. She's collected, cut and pasted pieces of memorabilia for five years. The time and effort she pours into every page shows. Some photos, mounted on heavy paper, lift on hinges to reveal printed prose underneath, decorated with sparkling paint.
Howland, 32, worked for two years for Scrapbooking.com magazine. She also worked as a television and news reporter. Howland now operates a day care from her home, raises three children ages 7, 5, and 1, and is training to be a nurse. She received just $200 for publishing in "Chicken Soup." but said she was happy to contribute.
Those interested in scrapbooking can look on the Web at National ScrapbookingDay.com. Or, for inspiration, pick up a copy of "Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker's Soul" and get the scrapper's skinny from Howland.