We dedicate this book to those unique, quirky, ever-intriguing customs that give us a peg on which to hang our family hat; to those traditions that last and allow us to pass something of ourselves on to the next generation. 

Birthday Treks: My girlfriends and I think a hike and pass-along gifts are the best way to celebrate a birthday. We bring a picnic in our backpacks and hike to a gorgeous spot for lunch. After we eat, we exchange recycled gifts like photo collages in secondhand frames, and books we've read and want to share. The fun is in using imagination instead of money for the gifts and the celebration. 

Memory Quilt: Each of my kids heads off the college with a memory quilt I've stitched from bits and pieces of their favorite outfits saved over the years. It's like a security blanket that keeps them warm in body and spirit. 

Written in Stone: When we're entertaining at our summer cottage, my children and I gather smooth, flat rocks from the beach and write the name of each guest on a rock with an indelible marking pen. The rocks serve as charming placecards at the table, and then pile up with countless others in a bowl on the sideboard. At season's end, we arrange the rocks outdoors under the trees. When we come upon those rocks in other years, each name brings back a memory. 

Bulfinch/Little Brown, 1993