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When was the last time that you wrote a meaningful handwritten letter to your spouse, parents, siblings or friends? Do you remember the last time you received a handwritten letter from someone significant in your life? The odds are, you’re much more likely to remember the answer to the latter of those two questions because it felt like a special occasion. Ever since the mid-1990s when “you’ve got mail” became a familiar tagline, handwritten letters have fallen by the waste side - being replaced with emails, texts, and tweets. For so many reasons, putting down the phone and picking up the pen can be substantially more impactful.
“… my landlady, by the way, doesn’t like the Germans because when some playful Nazi pilots lived in her house some months ago, they threw a hand grenade into her chicken coop, and they had to eat the winter’s supply of chickens all at once.”
This is one of my favorite lines from our family's treasure: my grandfather’s back-and-forth correspondence letters during World War II. Frank T. Waters was an editor of the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. At several instances during the war, he sent correspondence back home to his mother, family, and friends sharing daily life overseas and fighting the biggest war of the 20th century.
Going through these letters is a truly amazing glimpse of a soldier's life during war-time Europe in the 40s. I counted 207 letters, official correspondence, orders, postcards, etc, so far. Reading these, I discover my grandfather was smart, curious, and pretty funny. Here are some of my favorite bits:
A few days ago, I listened to a eulogy for someone I didn't know. He was a friend of a friend, and passed away much too young. But it was clear from the message at his service that in his short life, he made an amazing impact on those around him. He was dealt a truly short hand in life, with serious obstacles, but through the words of others, his story made me, someone he never met, experience amazement and ultimate respect. His short, hard life was thoughtful, impactful, and a direct challenge to me to spend my time well. Here are my thoughts on how I plan to be remembered.
If you grew up with a father figure in your life, odds are he had a favorite chair or place to sit. My dad certainly has one, and even my friends growing up knew where to find him in the evenings after work. This man from Instructables.com inherited this homemade rocking chair from his grandfather (who in fact inherited the woven patterns from his mother's chair) and decided to recreate one of his very own.
Things My Uncle Taught Me: A Ship-Guiding Dolphin, Dictators Renaming Months, and Giving All You've Got.
I have an Uncle John, and I imagine (statistically) most of you do as well. My Uncle John was a fantastic uncle to me growing up (and still is), but in particular, I remember him showing up on random occasions in my childhood with strong opinions and obscure stories that I took as the golden truth for much of my young life. As I got older, I was shocked to discover:
They were actually true. Well, more or less...
It began in 1975 when Nicholas Nixon whimsically asked if he could take a photo of his wife and her three sisters. A year later, they were all together again when he suggested they recreate their poses for a new photo. They liked the idea and have been doing the same thing every year, FOR FORTY YEARS.
In his travels around the world, Canadian photographer François Brunelle meets all kinds of interesting people, including some who he thinks he's met before in a totally different context. So, for his latest series, he gathers two individuals who are completely unrelated to each other, and photographs the pair as a family portrait.
In I'm not a look-alike!, Brunelle dresses his subjects in similar, complementary clothing, and poses them in typical, slightly awkward family portrait positions...a hand on the the shoulder here, a head tilt there. The most fascinating aspect to me is that unlike actual family members, who tend to share
The Martin family recently sat for an updated round of family photos. And by "sat for," I mean built custom sets of post-apocalyptic, zombie-fighting armor, and headed to a gritty locale for hours of family fun.
The shoot was conceived by the mother, Jen, and all armor and props were built by the family, using hubcaps, a railroad crossing sign, soda tabs, stainless steel, sports equipment, jump rings and aluminum duct parts. I especially love the bike helmet plus floor vent cover.
Whether good, strained, or non-existant, we're all defined and informed by our relationships to our parents, and the father-son one in particular. But, if you're able to be in touch with your dad throughout your life, you'll note, of course, that such a relationship changes, and you see him with a new set of eyes every few years.
Quebec City-based photographer and designer has created a photo series dubbed Genetic Portraits, which explores how much family members really do resemble each other. He photographs combinations of siblings and/or their parents, and then meld their split faces together to create a spectrum of portraits that span the eerily normal to the eerily shocking.
With more than 500 million users, and its emerged status as the only online networking site that matters anymore, your parents are probably on Facebook. Mine are. Nothing too awful, though I'm still teaching my dad about the Inbox.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for these twenty-four unfortunate users.
I'm not much into passing along photos of people who aren't necessarily attractive, or who might have had less-than-timeless hair in the 80s, or where one or two of the subjects get caught their not-so-great expressions. Those things are nobody's fault, and people should not be made to feel bad about themselves online.
However...this collection is something entirely different. The majority of these family photos aren't fascinating because of the folks in them, but because they're...well, a bizarre idea for a family photo.
Then there's this one...
Full length body suits are totally terrifying when worn by couples, but it turns out, when a family's involved, one only needs handmade yarn mask to induce nightmares.
Please, note the pie, the bowtie, and the matching white shirts. And we dare not guess what the daughter does in her spare time.
Hi everyone - After months of being a social networking Luddite and stick-in-the-mud, I've decided something: Twitter's pretty cool.
See, at first, I made the mistake of following people I actually know, and just re-hearing all the things I'm actually present for everyday. But then I realized - there's so much to be learned out there, and Twitter's a great way to experience it. And, if you get connected to the right places, you can access to all sorts of links and content that simply isn't anywhere else.
So, we're gonna try harder - ManMade's Twitter stream won't just be links to blog posts, but will hopefully contain all sorts of extra stuff, projects, how-tos, and inspiration. We'll try to be creative, we'll try to be funny, and we'll try to highlight stuff we think you'll dig on.
So, follow us. Say hi. Give us an @. We'll respond, I promise. More importantly, we can follow you and learn more about what you're interested in, and what you're like in the real world. It'll be fun.
Also, on the networking front, if you're not already hooked in to the ManMade Facebook page, join the family there, too. It's always a good time.