Some of you have been to my new home and have seen the wall I've dedicated to pictures of our family's heritage. For others of you who've never visited my home, or who haven't been in it for many years, I thought I would share these musings with you.
The story of our family begins many years ago, of course, with the earliest members of our families that we'll never know about. However, the story of this wall begins with Emily's 8th grade year. She was given a Heritage assignment and was instructed to contact various members of her family to learn about who belonged to whom, who married whom, who had which kids, and how we were all interconnected. A further part of the assignment was to collect as many pictures as possible from past generations and display copies of them on a three-way poster.
Emily has not only always been a star student, but has always been a history buff and interested in family heritage as a result so this assignment was a privilege for her to complete, although she didn't much like the teacher that assigned it! That teacher shall remain unnamed! Emily contacted both sets of grandparents and a great-aunt, LaVon (my dad's sister—LUV HER!!!), and they were all so generous in copying, labeling, and mailing pictures to her. Her assignment went very well and she received a good grade for it.
The greatest by-product of this project is that now we had all these great black-and-whites of past generations, complete with titles and explanations! How often does that happen?! I've had friends who had to sit sifting through generations worth of pictures trying to decipher who was who and the only ones who could help were six feet under! Aye yie yie! Not a good thing. So, we filed these pictures, in their non-acid-free envelopes along with their non-acid-free papers explaining who was who. I knew better than to do that (with non-acid-free products), but for the last six to seven years, I've been holding a platter that was overflowing, OK?! It was good enough for me at the moment that I at least had the pictures! (Lesson to those of you with younger children: have them do a 'project' like this on their Christmas break or over the summer! At least you'll end up with great copies of pictures!)
We moved into our new home this past March and were faced with a new decorating challenge. I LOVE those challenges, actually, and secretly wish that I was a decorator/home creator by trade, helping new home owners, and old ones alike, define their atmosphere. We moved in in March, as I said, and were expecting a huge load of houseguests and party guests in June for Emily's high school graduation. So I knew everything wouldn't be in its rightful place, but I knew that I had to make it LOOK like it was!
In my new home, I have a fabulous laundry room. It's actually a room, with cabinets, a sink, and a window all its own! (pictures of that someday! Woo hoo! I know you are on pins and needles just waiting for THAT!) Just outside that room is a small hallway with a blank wall on one side and a 'window' into the family room on the other. "There's the perfect wall for our Heritage pictures!" I said to myself one day! Emily insisted that we make yet another copy, "because, Mom, what if something happened to the original copies we have!" –always thinking, that one! We visited Target and Aaron Brothers (I would link them, but those links will probably outdate!) and collected black frames. You could also go to Wal-Mart and get those $2 oak frames they have all the time and spray paint them black or white, whatever your preference. I've already sprayed all of mine for other uses! And I hate our local Wal-Mart!!! I'm hugely influenced by Martha Stewart's ideas and designs and I just know this is something she would do!
The fact that I'm constantly reminded of where I came from is a good thing. There are pictures of Ken's mom and her sisters, there's my daddy with his daddy (who died when he was 11) and his dog Snoopy (stories abound surrounding that!), Mammaw Rhodes, Grandpa Circeo in his official Air Force picture—so smart-looking!, Ken's maternal grandfather who was a chef in the German army and killed in Russia in WWII, Ken's grandma, Sophie, at her confirmation, my own daughter as a baby and myself in a beautifully created mat from her own hands, Ken as a child, me as a child, my great-grandparents Gracie Gertrude and Fred Pillow, and on and on. I have a few more to put up, including one of my mom when she was a little girl. I've arranged the pictures randomly so that more can be added at will.
At the center of the collage is a plaque I found in a boutique in Port Angeles, WA, . . . it says, "All because two people fell in love".