The Unknown Relatives

Bedlam or Blessing?

My dad, at least, organized his documents and photos. He built homes, so he had a filing system of his jobs, receipts, blueprints…

I moved 7 times in 15 years, hauled these totes, boxes, and bags with me. Even placed them in a storage unit. Many items are historical, or if not, tied to an emotional link in my heart. No way could I toss them. Each time I lugged that stuff, I thought, “Why am I doing this? What will I do with it? When will I ever have time to sort through it all?”

I suppose my step-grandma didn’t want to deal with the hordes of papers after my Grandfather passed. She opened her closet door and pulled out BAGS. Not only did she give me Grandfather’s stash, but tucked within his items was his first wife’s, my Grandmother’s, photo album of her life in the 1910s-20s.

Grandfather and Grandmother kept documents, letters, postcards, receipts of many types, and photos of people I couldn’t identify. This encouraged me to contact cousins for help. Each of us have pieces of information or knowledge of many of the people or places in the old photographs.

But everything was old, faded, and fragile. Still, how could I toss them out? The items chronicled my Grandfather’s life, loves, and work. Everything he was dedicated to. He lived to 103 ½ years old.

Since last year, when I finally made time to sort and scan, I view all those things as my treasure trove! The photos, the documents, the cards and letters told a story of immigration, survival, love, victory over poverty, and peace with God.

One reason I ended up with all that old stuff? My grandfather and grandmother handed me stories to tell. God granted me interesting people to write about. I may never write all their secrets in my lifetime. But I’ll surely try.


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