I am currently in Ohio meeting Marian for the first time. This is a dream come true! She’s 98 and we’re finally going to say ‘hello’ in real life… Let me explain.
I don’t just love pictures. I love the stories that are behind the pictures. Photographs offer humanity to those we don’t know and celebrate the relationships with those we do!
Pictures tell the stories of our lives and everyone has a story worth telling. My love affair isn’t really so much with photography as much as it is with the idea of capturing a feeling for the world to remember. No matter how much time passes, photos are able to say… We lived, we loved, we were here.
Knowing that should help it make more sense to you why I also love genealogy. I love learning the stories!! Growing up, no one really knew the stories of my heritage. And what I did know honestly didn’t leave me feeling all that proud of where I came from. At the age of 24 I started working to trace my family’s history. There really wasn’t much to go off of at first. Nobody knew much of anything but all my relatives were willing to give me what they did know/have. Within all of that was a Christmas card dated Dec. 1985 to a family member in Ohio. I didn’t know how we were related but I knew there was a connection.
My chances of having anyone still live at that address and also be living (the letter had been to my Grandpa who had passed away in 1999) was not good but I had to try. So I sent a letter 24 years after that Christmas Card was sent. I explained who I was, that I was hoping to reach someone related to me through my grandpa and what I was trying to accomplish… And then I waited.
I was pushing the girls on the swing set when my cell phone rang. Tears started streaming down my face when the person on the other line began introducing himself. “Leah? My name is Ted out in So. Charleston, OH. I guess we must be cousins. I’m here with Marian, she got your letter and would love to talk to you. She is the daughter of Leah who I’m assuming you must have been named after.”
Tears streamed down my face; I was experiencing my own miracle. The chances that someone would still be living at the address, be related to me AND be alive was not good as far as the world is concerned. I believe with everything in me that Marian has been watched over and protected by angels just for me! If that seems hokey to you, just think about this… How many 94 year old women do you know who have an email account, can remember every detail (and I mean every single detail) dating back almost 100 years AND happen to still live in the same home that she was raised in! … M-I-R-A-C-L-E-!
And so it began. Marian and I have talked back and forth for the last 4 years exchanging letters, pictures, cards and information. She’s absolutely amazing in every way imaginable and this weekend I will be staying in her house (the same house that Leah was raised in) and learning the stories of my past!
Family is the most important, most incredible gift that God has given us outside of His son. I believe that this is one of the most misunderstood realities of humanity today and as a result, in my opinion the number one reason there is so much pain, anger, crime…. All of it is because people do not value the family unit!
I am so blessed and so excited to be in Ohio as you read this! I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I get back but in the meantime, do something for someone in your family! Call a grandparent just to say hello, send a letter to someone far away… Start learning your family’s history.