Keepsakes and Dreams Guestbook Entries


What keepsakes do you value?
What aspects of your cultural heritage do you hold dear?
What are your dreams for the future?
In what ways are your cultural keepsakes related to your dreams?

This site was originally designed to be interactive and ongoing. After visitors read our stories, they added comments to our guestbook.

Our guestbook was first created in October of 1996. It was closed in February 2000. Here is a sampling of what visitors had to say:

I love creating keepsakes. My mom got me into it and I have been doing it ever since I was introduced to it. Thank you for all the wonderful features and ideas.
JANNA INGE <snoopy2@nwol.net>
- Tuesday, February 15, 2000 at 23:55:09 (EST)

WOW! Cool stories.
monica markin
Independence, IA America - Friday, January 07, 2000 at 15:49:40 (EST)

Well nice site. pls update it and tell me where u r now best of luck for the future
ayaz <ayaz2@hotmail.com>
karachi, pakistan - Saturday, October 30, 1999 at 10:39:42 (EDT)

DORCHESTER, MA USA - Thursday, September 02, 1999 at 14:59:07 (EDT)

Two of my students and myself decided we would like to use the Keepsakes page to post some of our writing. My two students, Jeong-Ha and Jin-Ha are visting the U.S. from Korea. They have been living here for the past two years and will be returning to their home country soon. Their writing appears directly below mine. Don't you think they do well for two girls who spoke only the simplest English terms a few years ago. Thank you for this wonderful sight. We have enjoyed writing these pieces for inclusion here. Twenty-four hours ago, I might have claimed some material possession as my most valued treasure. But that has all changed. Yesterday, I took my six-year-old granddaughter, April, to church with me. There is nothing particularly noteworthy in that. I attend church every Sunday and often take a grandchild along when we visit our summer home in Bear Lake, Idaho. What was noteworthy is that I somehow misplaced April for about 15 minutes between Sunday school and the main worship service. She had brought her new birthday "dolly" to church, and I told her to leave it in the car until after Sunday school. When I went to retrieve her after Sunday school, she wasn't in the classroom, the restroom, or any of the other places I expected to find her. Remembering the doll, I went directly to the car. The doll was thereĖApril was not. By now I was frantic enough to start looking for the Sunday school teacher and enlist a few others in my search. When we still couldn't find her, I thought perhaps she had gone home without usĖalthough I couldn't imagine she would venture out onto the highway by herself. In a last desperate attempt to find her before driving home, I looked through the chapel doors one last time to see if I might have overlooked her. To my relief, framed in the door directly across the chapel was my little brown-haired, tear-streaked muffin sobbing out her story to a sympathetic usher. Her new pink and white cotton dress was a bit dirty and the only pair of shoes we could find that morning, a pair of worn out pink sneakers, made her look even more pathetic, but the sight of her made my heart swell as tears of relief and gratitude gave me a renewed perspective on what my treasures truly are. I can't imagine any material possession that would have brought the same emotional and physical response upon finding that which was lost. I can replace or do without anything that money might buyĖbut I could never replace even one grandchildĖif I were to have a hundredĖif he or she were taken away from me or lost through my own carelessness. By the way, April had gone to look for the "dolly," but she had gone out the wrong side of the building and became confused when she couldn't find the right white car.
Charlene Hirschi <canyonwinds@deseretonline.com>
Logan, UT USA - Tuesday, August 17, 1999 at 22:23:48 (EDT)

I have a piece of a knitted hat that always reminds of my dogs. When I was about six or 7, I used to have two dogs when I was in my home country of Korea. But I had to give them away when I came to America. When I had the dogs, I played with them a lot and sometimes I'd dress them up like human beings with the clothes that I used to wear when I was a baby. I'd dress them up like that whenever I had a tea party or something else. It fit them perfectly, and they looked so adorable with it. One of the outfits was the hat that my mom had knitted. It is red and wool. I have lost all of the other outfits and accessories that the dogs used to wear but not the hat. I thought I have lost it a long time ago, and it probably left it in Korea. But few weeks ago, I found the hat in a small box where I have never imagined I'd find it at. The box was used for bunch of beads, but the hat was there. I keep it in my desk these days rather than in the box full of beads. Whenever my friends come over and ask me what it is, I just proudly tell them "It is the only object that my dog and I shared."
Jeong ha Kim <saturn_purple@hotmail.com>
Logan, UT United States - Tuesday, August 17, 1999 at 21:40:28 (EDT)

The Cursed Jewelry Box: My Keepsake It was just a humble, old and used jewelry box sitting there on a shelf in a second-hand store. This jewelry box is my forever-will-be-kept keepsake, and itís not even mine. I found it and asked my mom if I could buy this beautiful jewelry box. But since I was borrowing my sisterís 8-dollar jewelry box that we purchased a while ago, my mom said it would be better to give this to my sister than me having it. Because I didnít have my own jewelry box and since I was sharing or borrowing my sisterís, I really wanted to have this one. It was far more beautiful than my sisterís jewelry box. It had the color of hazel, and it had four drawers on the right side and a glass-door on the left side. The handles of drawers were also beautiful. It reminded me of those classic handles on drawers back in the Baroque period, where women wore fancy clothes and men wore tights. Handles were golden and curled up. And it had another drawer on the bottom, so it almost looked like Barbieís closet. And on the door, it had a delicate white flower, so beautiful that reminded me of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. I wanted it so desperately, I made my mom mad by asking her too many times, and I got mad just because I couldnít have the jewelry box. However, I could handle my desperation over this jewelry box, because Iíve realized that Iím 13 and my sisterís only 11. I could yield jewelry box to her! It also made me realize how greedy I was over this little jewelry box. I was taking the most space in my sisterís past jewelry box and when I saw a new one, I wanted that one, ditching the old one like trash, and not even thanking my sister for lending it to me. Sometimes some things that you canít get, makes that certain thing more valuable and makes it somehow more precious. I promised myself that Iíll keep my eye on the jewelry box that stole my heart and blinded my eyes, just like a hawk looking down at earth to find food. For the sake of the jewelry box, Iíll never let it be thrown away or destroyed.
Jin Ha Kim <pink_flower6@hotmail.com>
Logan, UT US - Tuesday, August 17, 1999 at 18:10:58 (EDT)

Hi there!I am 24 years old, married with a 3 year old daughter. I have recently qualified as a teacher and also hope to open a school in pakistan some time in the future. I was surprised to see that there was some one out there with similar ideas. Sorry I have to go now
sumeena razzaqi <srazzaqi@aol.com>
newcastle-upon-tyne, u.k. - Tuesday, July 20, 1999 at 07:57:20 (EDT)

Hi there!
sumeena razzaqi <srazzaqi@aol.com>
newcastle-upon-tyne, u.k. - Tuesday, July 20, 1999 at 07:54:16 (EDT)

CA 94109 - Thursday, July 01, 1999 at 19:42:27 (EDT)

I enjoyed Joice Louhapessy's comments on Indonesia very much and the lovely picture of women in Indonesian dress. The aspect of my cultural heritage I most hold dear has to do with all the many different people who make the United States their home and how they have contributed to the music and food I enjoy, the clothes I wear, the gifts I buy, and the ever changing worldview I adopt. I also cherish the celebration of holidays: the magic of Christmas, the egg hunts for children at Easter, the fireworks for Independence Day, the children in costume going door-to-door for candy at Halloween, and the family turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. The aspect of my cultural heritage that I most appreciate, though, is freedom as a woman to learn many skills and live without a man if I so choose, to get a college education and pursue a career. I have enjoyed sovereignty to make my own decisions and follow my dreams as an American woman, and my personal vision for women everywhere is to claim their power and balance the manner in which humanity exists on earth so we may all survive and flourish.
Sherry Schiffer <arielky@netscape.net>
Colorado Springs, CO USA - Friday, June 04, 1999 at 17:58:59 (EDT)

I'm just delving into folkarts and web sites, for I am taking a class to develop a web quest for students. I am an art teacher (new to this area) in a rural town in E. Ore. I would like to enrich the culture of these students. I believe they have a lot of culture to hold onto here and this community is looking for it's identity. I would love to develope a web quest that helps the students understand the richness of the world and an appreciation for what they have and can offer.
jennifer klimsza <j_klimsza@hotmail.com>
Joseph, OR USA - Thursday, May 06, 1999 at 10:34:54 (EDT)

I lived in Oruro Bolivia for 14 years. Every morning when I wake up, I include Bolivia in my prayers. the only door that we found open in 1939, was Bolivia. Viva Bolivia! Viva el pueblo Boliviano!
Dagoberto Vogel <Dago19@webtv.com>
San Diego, CA USA - Friday, April 30, 1999 at 17:33:48 (EDT)

hey there, i'm 19 years old and from Pakistan.Kewl site you people have here. I really liked this stuff. Nice to see people want to share their dreams with others. I have my own personal dreams and aims in life too. Hmm, although i think they are a bit far-fledged but what the hey... I'm in Cyprus at the moment, studying computer studies and information technology. After i get a bachelours degree, i hopefully plan to enter a good uni and get a masters degree in Information Technology and then go on to get a masters degree in business administeration. You may be thinking what's so far fledged about that. Well, i hope to accomplish all this by the age of 25. Now i know people think that is highly unlikely but i have a head start in uni and may be able to do it. If God is with me and i have the support and love of my parents, then i think anything will be possible for me. Well, that was just a bit about me, hope you all get what you are aiming for in life. May we all succeed in achieving our goals. Peace on earth...
Usman Latif <979247@venus.emu.edu.tr>
Jeddah, - Saturday, March 13, 1999 at 10:26:16 (EST)

I'm looking for chat sights catering to dreamers and/or interpretors
melissa mccourt <bissalissa@hvi.net>
wappingers falls, ny united states - Thursday, March 04, 1999 at 22:40:29 (EST)

I am a kiwi married to a somali woman. My wife has been in new zealand now for 9 years, is a nz trained nurse and has recently been reunited with her family. ( they r new immigrants) I know she has had difficulty coming to terms with a lot of aspects of her culture particularly the way women are treated . I have worked in east africa for the last 13 years and have had a lot of contact with somalis. The things that strike me about somali men in particular is the way they use religion to justify a dominant position over women. I am also struck by the racist attitudes exhibited by many somalis of both sexes to one of their people who marries outside her race. I say her because this scorn is almost exclusively reserved for somali women. somali men who do so r just greeted with the comment " oh they are men". why also do Somalis equate Islam with somali culture? I say this from the point of view that the indigenous culture that existed before the arrival of Islam in the horn has been swamped by the imperialistic charactaristics (arabcentric)of Islam. It is very rare to come across a Somali that has an indigenous Somali name for instance ( they do exist) I have to add that we have a strong marriage and both of us have a good appreciation of the cross cultural aspects. We enjoy each others culture but u have to be very accomadating
malcom <malsah@xtra.co.nz>
christchurch, new zealand - Saturday, January 09, 1999 at 01:46:03 (EST)

NEW JERSEY, NJ USA - Saturday, November 14, 1998 at 15:45:13 (EST)

Do you know you have the same name as me, plus you are cambodian just like me too. Well just want to know how old you are, and where do you live, maybe one day we might meet each other, you will never know. Ok the i just wanted to say that ok then bye bye.
WILMINGTON, DE US - Friday, September 18, 1998 at 19:52:23 (EDT)

In June of 1998 a group of teachers gathered in Des Moines Iowa for a Folklife Education Institute sponsored by the Iowa Arts Council and the State Historical Society of Iowa. The theme for the gathering was "Iowa Traditions in Transition," with a special focus on the lore of recent immigrants. During one session, groups of educators interviewed people who had moved to Iowa from Colombia, Bosnia, Vietnam (Tai Dam), and the Sudan (Nuer). The four Guestbook entries below were written by the groups after conducting their interviews, in response to the following two questions: 1. What did you learn (in general) from the person you interviewed? 2. What did you learn from the interviewing process itself?
Gail Matthews-DeNatale <denatale@tiac.net>
Malden, MA U.S. - Thursday, June 18, 1998 at 16:13:52 (EDT)

Mladin is 25 years old. He left Bosnia 3 years after the war broke out because of economic and government issues. Mladin's background is unique from most Bosnians because of his diverse life experience. By the age of 19, he had traveled most European countries and had a network of friends and family to assist him in his travels. Mladin -- if he makes a friend--and that friend lives in, let's say China, and he has a friend who wants to go to China, he just says he's Mladin's friend and he can stay there. -- He has a Christian faith, which is an extension of his rich family tradition. Living in a communist country it was easier for his family to blend faith and tradition. It was an interesting process; we discovered that ma;ybe you have preconceived notions about places, countries, and people--you could say the name of a place and think you know about it. We learned that we have to leave our prejudice and preconceived ideas behind and let the interview have its own life. it's easier to sit back and let your interviewee go.
Iowa Folklife: Group Interview w. Mladin(from Bosnia)
Des Moines, IA U.S.A. - Saturday, June 13, 1998 at 15:28:01 (EDT)

We had an interesting conversation. Dinh was the main topic, but we also asked questions of other recent refugees--Enisa, GAch, and also asked Jo Ann some questions--comparing lives. IT was iteresting because Dinh has been here for 22 years. He's evolved; because when he left N. Vietnam--he's TAi DAm. He called them an u;nfortuate people, always on the run, searching for the promised land. When he first got here, he remembers everything. he got here on June 21, 1976, 6:00 pm. He never forgot that. He was crying, he wanted to go back. he wanted to go live in France; that was his dream, but it never happened. But now that he's here, he's learned to accept what happened. He's American now--as Americans we're all in the same boat right now; we all come from different places and cultures but we're all the same. Gach (The Sudan) he sort ohad the same sentiments. He came here for a different reason but he's just been here for 3 years. HE wants to do well here. there are a lot of people who have come from his country; they think they are going to be going back to Sudan and they're in a rut. They aren't doing anything. But he wants to do well here; if he does well here, if he does go back,he'll do well. Enisa wants to go back (to Bosnia). For right now it's better for her to be here. Interviewers learned--it seemed like we were a bunch of strangers but as we talked we found out we have a lot in common. The interviewing like talking among friends--it wasn't hard at all.
Iowa Folklife: Group Interview w. Dinh (Tai Dam from Laos)
Des Moines, IA U.S.A. - Saturday, June 13, 1998 at 15:23:11 (EDT)

WE talked about 3 different things, learning first about Dual's experience of bewing in the civil war in Sudan and being Christian and wanting to learn English. He was threatened w/arrest for that and so left the Sudan fairly quickly. He fled first to Ethiopia and then Kenya where he stayed in a refugee camp for 2 years before being approved to come to the US. The next that we talked about for a while were the "gar" facial marks and the tradition and his own experience--receiving those at 15 and the cultural significance of those for becoming a man, not being able to tell a lie, fighting, marrying, etc. His father really insisted on that--getting the marks. In this country the most difficult change--one was the weather in Iowa. In the Sudan it's very hot. The problem of making money and being able to buy a car. To have done that in his own country he would have been questioned by the government--there was distrust about where you got it. LIke group 1, we wanted to ask more questions. the more we asked the more we learned and the more we wanted to learn.
Iowa Folklife: Group Interview w. Dual (Nuer from the Sudan
Des Moines, IA U.S.A. - Saturday, June 13, 1998 at 15:15:28 (EDT)

Martha comes from a very conservative country. She came as a refugee because of her mother's rejection of the traditions--men are very free and women are not. The society's inability or unwillingness to give support to a woman who is different. She sees the US as a refuge for women who are in losing situations. She was divorced and that wasn't acceptable in Columbia. Asking the questions and hearing the answers opens avenues to other questions and experiences that we didn't expect to learn from Martha.
Iowa Folklife: Group Interview w. Martha (Colombia)
Des Moines, IA U.S.A. - Saturday, June 13, 1998 at 15:10:27 (EDT)

jroszel <jroszel@erols.com>
VA USA - Friday, May 23, 1997 at 23:27:12 (EDT)

I teach first grade in a Northern Virginia Elementary school. This year, as part of a teacher-research project, I invited parents to come and tell stories in the classroom. I was looking for the stories of their lives or families. It was a beautiful sharing of precious family stories. My classroom is quite diverse. The impact on children was amazing Giving parents the opportunity to share gave my students wonderful
JRoszel <jroszel@erols.com>
VA USA - Friday, May 23, 1997 at 23:24:33 (EDT)

A handsome and well-conceived site, Keepsakes and Dreams offers both expression and cross-cultural understanding.
Mike Luster <luster@aol.com>
Monroe, LA USA - Friday, April 18, 1997 at 11:39:01 (EDT)

You guys are pretty cool , if you would have any information on jannete oke please e-mail me Thanks a bunch!!!
Patricia Finner <hubs1hubs1@hotmail.com>
Scottville, Mi United states - Thursday, March 27, 1997 at 08:55:13 (EST)

I'm struck by the number entries that mention art as key motive.I suggest that Sikander check out the rising artist in the US named Shahzia Sikander. They seem to have identical ambitions.
arthur shaw
po box 52341 Houston 77052, TX usa - Tuesday, March 25, 1997 at 13:09:45 (EST)

The best I've seen and heard for a long time.Thanks.
Fred Arends <farends@bellsouth.net>
Jacksonville , Fl USA - Thursday, March 20, 1997 at 00:58:01 (EST)

I am graduating with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education/English in May. I am very excited but also somewhat frightened. I would like to teach in a foreign country, preferebly somewhere where the natives speak Spanish.
Camille Holstin <indigo67@hotmail.com>
Belton, TX USA - Wednesday, March 19, 1997 at 21:13:04 (EST)

I like talking to people from other countries because it is educational. I once knew a young lady from Poland and she had a great sense of humor. I have fond memories of her. I know people from the Phillipines also. They are friendly to me. I am proud of my race, but I get along with people from around the world to. Looking for a understanding females to share life with. I am 42 years old and a Afro American in Houston, Texas. I am going back to school to take Chemical Engineering. I was Chemical Operator for 15 years for Citgo, Tenn-USS, and EXXON. Never give up on your dreams is what I have learned.
Willie George Gilliam <willyg@infocom.net>
Houston, Tx United States - Sunday, March 09, 1997 at 23:28:03 (EST)

First visit; very brief; will return for more.
john cash <jcash@indiana.edu>
bloomington, in usa - Monday, February 10, 1997 at 12:33:52 (EST)

Thank you so much for setting up this site. I've used life experience stories with my ESL students in the past. It's great to know there is somewhere these wonderful stories can be stored and shared. Keep up the good work. I'll be checking in often.
Resa Wingfield <LCoTyler@aol.com>
Tyler, TX USA - Thursday, February 06, 1997 at 09:52:22 (EST)

After having returned to the US after several years abroad in Debrecen, Hungary, I still find that now and then I experience culture shock, homesickness for Hungary, and more importantly, a different view of America. It is therefore very interesting for me to read some of these stories, and thheir views of America, life here, their needs and desires. Thanks.
Keith Proctor <proctor@madison.k12.wi.us>
Madison, WI USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 17:15:26 (EST)

I have just started my scrapbook and not only me but my whole family enjoys it.
MARY ANN TRUMAN <mhwhse@Fair.Net>
JACKSONVILLE, FL USA - Friday, January 17, 1997 at 10:00:50 (EST)

How in the world did such a smart gal come out of a Momma like me?
Deener Matthews
New York, NY USA - Friday, December 20, 1996 at 16:31:18 (EST)

I hope people find it - it's great! I am a 51 year old woman, child of immigrant parents. I've lived overseas and deeply value cultural diversity and the richness it brings. I am currently a student teacher in night school for intermediate adult ESL students, and plan to teach night school next year. We have a lot to learn from each other!
Pleasant Hill, CA USA - Wednesday, December 18, 1996 at 21:09:09 (EST)

Last winter I opened my closet door to hang up my coat, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the face of my grandmother, who died several years ago. I'm not the sort of person who sees ghosts or gets in touch with her spiritual self, so I called my sister--"the spiritual one" in the family. As I was talking to her I re-enacted my visit to the closet, and up in the left-hand corner, where I'd seen my grandmother's face was an indigo blue and cream linsey-woolsey coverlet that used to lie hidden in the bottom of my grandmother's cedar chest. She kept it hidden so people wouldn't think she came from the country. She preferred her grandmother's pretty quilts to the more rustic coverlets. Normally this coverlet hangs on my living room wall, but I had taken it down for some reason. He face emanated from this coverlet. I keep it both to remind me of her, because she raised me, and to celebrate the traditions of the upland South, where I grew up.
paddy bowman <pbowman@ix.netcom.com>
- Wednesday, November 13, 1996 at 15:19:35 (EST)

You hear these stories all your life in your family, and if you're a reflective person, you eventually come to think that they must mean something.
"Peter Taylor"
- Monday, November 04, 1996 at 15:08:32 (EST)

...Let me dream it truth.
M. Arnold
- Monday, November 04, 1996 at 14:58:43 (EST)

Do not dream so much but do now if you can
medan, - indonesia - Monday, November 04, 1996 at 00:37:27 (EST)

Really nice site! I teach in a Master's program for teachers and plan to ask the teachers to visit this site since we often ask them to write autobiographical stories and other stories that illustrate their students' lives and perspectives.Pam
Pamela <plepage@gmu.edu>
Wasington DC, USA - Saturday, November 02, 1996 at 16:21:48 (EST)

Dear Gail:I teach ESL at NVCC; we met at an AAHE TLTR workshop at GMU last spring. I was considering an oral history project for one of my classes, and lo and your card andweb address were in a pile of stuff that I thought would be valuable some day. Sure enough!First: "Keepsakes and Dreams" looks really good. Theseare stories that are too easily lost. I think you setup the project well for reasons too long to go into here. The web site is really effective, also. AndBTW, I believe I have one of the interviewees in oneof my classes now - Zebun Nisa of Pakistan.
Jeff Williamson <nvwillj@nv.cc.va.us>
- Friday, November 01, 1996 at 20:25:50 (EST)

I love the design of this site. It's wonderful to see so many different stories--all very moving in their individual ways.
Doug DeNatale <denatale@nefa.org>
Boston, MA USA - Friday, November 01, 1996 at 08:14:16 (EST)


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