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By Shirley Brunner
A few months ago I was looking at some old photos in a box I had brought from my parents home after they passed away. My sister, who is five years younger than I, was with me.
I found one picture that I remembered very well from my childhood. My father was the oldest of eight children and this picture, taken in about 1950, was one of a very few taken that had all of his family together.
I asked my sister if she remembered the photo and if she could name each of our uncles and their only sister. Although we have a very close-knit family, she said no, she did not remember the photo and was unable to tell me who was who. In fact, she was only able to point out our father and one of our uncles. At that point it dawned on me that I am now the oldest in our family and it was my responsibility to write down all of these stories so they would not be lost.
My parents had spread their family out over a number of years and it ended up that my mother and I had children very close in age. In fact, my youngest sister is only six months older than my oldest daughter!
I decided that my New Year’s Eve activity would be putting together a book for each of my siblings, nieces, and nephews, as well as for my own children. I named the book “All because two people fell in love.”
We lost my only brother to cancer at the young age of 49 in February 2004, my Mother in February 2005, and one year later, we lost my Father in March 2006. I decided to dedicate the book to all three of them.
When I received the finished books I presented them to each family member as an early Valentine’s gift.
In the book I included stories about how our parents met and their love story. I continued with funny stories I had been told about them in their childhood, during their courtship, and their first years of marriage. I then went onto each of us children in the order of our birth with a funny story about each of us.
Each one of my family have called me laughing and crying about the stories they had never heard about. They each said how much they are enjoying the pictures they had never seen. I had never stopped to think how much I, as the oldest child, knew that the younger members had no way of knowing.
I now use this little 5×7 book as a sample in my workshops. I see many smiles and a few tears as many guests say how they would love to have a book like that and are now placing it in their list of “to do” books.