September 6, 2008

The Importance of Dating

Now, please don't just click out of the screen in disgust. I am not talking about dating vs. courtship or anything like that. What I mean is putting the date on things.

What kind of things? Well - anything. Journal entries. Drawings or paintings you do. The letters and cards you write. The linens you make for your hope chest. For those of you mothers reading this, the little pictures you save that your children give you when they are little. You can find an inconspicuous spot on nearly anything to put a date.

Why? For generations to come. Hundreds of years from now, things you have made and written may have survived. How disappointing it would be for one of your great-great-great grandchildren to find them and know that they are old, but don't know HOW old! Beatrix Potter, for example, wrote many letters and dated most of them; but only two, written to her father, survive from her childhood and they are UNDATED. I love finding things that have the date written on them so that I know exactly how old it was. When looking at old books in antique stores, the first thing I almost always do is look at the publication year - the older it is, the more chance that I will buy it. :-)

That said, I would also encourage you to write the full year. Instead of writing "September 6, 08" write "September 6, 2008." Why? Because in a couple hundred years, people may not know which "08" it is! They may be able to guess based on the actual item, but it is only a guess. For instance, we have an antique woodstove dated Jan. 06. Well, it must have been from 1906 since it couldn't possibly be from two years ago! But you see we use the same abbreviation for 2006 as 1906.

I hope this helps you to remember to take one more second to add the date. It's important! :-)