Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's More Meaningful to Them

Yesterday, as I was completing yet another task that should have been done weeks and weeks ago, I came across some old yearbooks that had been among my grandmother's belongings when she died. When I found them, I could remember my mother and my aunt discussing what to do with them: "We could donate them to the historical society," one of them--probably my mother--said. "Do you think they would want them?"

"We could just throw them away," came the reply. 

I don't remember how long they considered the fate of those volumes but, in the end, I ended up bringing them home. Sigh...I do have a soft spot for family history. 

1956 & 1957 yearbooks from Eden School, which served grades 1 through 8 and
employed two teachers. 

Finding and looking through the yearbooks was fun. I got such a kick out of it that I even shared my excitement on Facebook. Then, as often happens in my Facebook world, a distant cousin commented. It had been a l-o-n-g time since she had heard anybody mention the old, two-room, rural schoolhouse whose playground had welcomed us both as children. She wondered if there were any pictures of her father in those old books. Turns out, there were. 

Turns out, there were also pictures of her father's sister, a woman I had never met, who had passed away when her own children were young, and whose children were now...looking at photos of their school-aged mother that I had posted on my newsfeed. They were, in fact, looking at photos of their mother that they never even knew existed. 

A few likes, comments, and shares later, I offered to mail the yearbooks to these unknown, distant cousins. 

Sure, I could have kept the yearbooks for myself; I did, after all, enjoy them very much. But they will always mean so much more to my new-found cousins than they will ever mean to me.

I don't anticipate ever regretting parting with the yearbooks, even though there are a few photos of my mother, my aunt, and my great-grandmother within their pages. Instead, I know that every time I think about them, I will smile knowing I gave two sisters a small piece of their mother's too-short life.

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