Origin Story

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BY Caleb Tonkinson (Founder) / ON Aug 15, 2021

In 2015 my wife and I were married. Through our first couple years of marriage we tried to create a photo book to commemorate the year. In 2017 our first child was born. Like most new parents we took thousands of pictures and tried to remember every little detail. It got a little harder, but with just one child we managed to do both a baby book for him and a year book. We again did the year book in 2018 but it was much harder. Then early in 2019 we had our second child. In past years we had just sat down in December, looked at the pictures we had taken and made sure to write down all the best memories. When we sat down in December, we realized that we had forgotten lots of the little details that make life special. In particular, many of the funny things our little toddler said and the situatitons surrounding them were lost.

An idea

My wife had the idea to comb through our text messagese and search out things we had missed. We frequently would message little moments when the other was away. It was a treasure trove of ideas. Many things that would have been missed showed up in the little happenings of the day that were shared there. It was a pain to read through though, so to help for future searching we started including tags when we shared things. When our toddler said something funny we now tagged it with #collinquotes. We could then easily search our message history for the things we wanted.


Early 2019 brought our second year and a year full of new images and moments. Despite our efforts to tag things, searching through our text messages was still a pain and December 2019 came and went with no book. Just a couple hurriedly typed up notes about the year and a promise to ourselves to get back to it. By my wifes birthday in May we had almost none of it done and were setting ourselves up to have a similar 2020.

May 2020

For her Birthday I decided to do two things. First, I sat down for hours and pored over our messages and the happenings of the year and wrote out the majority of the stories we would want to remember. Second, being a software developer I felt there was a better way for us to capture and then look through everything then searching our message history. So I wrote up several hundred lines of code and presented her with a document full of notes and a littl piece of software. All that existed at the time was the ability to text something in and then view it in the web browser.


It was a simple start, but our conversations about what additional things were needed to facilitate our efforts to remember the special details of our lives has led to The Story Stash. It has been an invaluable tool for us to capture and share lifes little moments. We hope it will be for you too.