Yesterday my daughter Tracy called and asked if it was still "OK" for her to come spend the day with me. Silly question! I can think of few people on the planet I would rather spend the day with! She came down, and since her daughter, Savannah, was staying with friends down this direction I got a double!
Tracy is working on a college paper, and she wanted some information on our family, specifically my father's side. Several years ago for Christmas my sister, Lois, put together a book for me, followed up a couple of years later by another. They are truly remarkable works! The first one contained a letter about my life written by my parents, including the first words I spoke ("banana", go figure!), the age at which I first walked (16 months...little slow but Mom said it was because I scooted, carrying all my "goodies" on my lap with me), and even a sheet telling what prices were, what the top movie was, etc. during my year of birth. I know she spent many weeks and long nights putting that album together, then about 2 years later she did volume two. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift that has been. In volume two she took a tape recorder to the hospital while our father was ill and asked him to "tell his stories" about his family. Then she performed the labor of love of dictating all his stories into print. They are like reading a good book told by a friend...and the telling brings a picture in the mind that can put you right at the time and place.
Last night Tracy read both books, front to back, and asked for copies of the stories Dad told. He was such a remarkable man and he married a remarkable woman. Both our folks were totally blind..but there was nothing Dad could not do, from woodworking, to plumbing and wiring, to fixing his car (he had to hire a driver, but only because the State refused to give him a license). The newspaper articles Lois gathered together documented some of his remarkable life, from the time he taught at television school in Chicago during the infancy of TV to his college attendance and the work he did as a piano tuner. The book also documents, complete with old photos, his father, whom we never knew because he died while Dad was young, to great grandparents long departed. It was a fun and nostalgic evening that I have often repeated (I seem to pull out the books about once or twice a year).
So thank you Lois! That truly is the best gift I have ever received.
And thank you Tracy, for a crazy, wonderful, funny evening! I hope you had as much fun as I did...and I hope we didn't tell stories to Savannah that you had hoped to keep secret!