Alma was my grandpa’s sister, and she was a hoot. She was so full of life and energy that you couldn’t help but be inspired to get up and do something – anything! She was a painter, and just a little bit eccentric. I loved that about her.
After Alma died in October, 2010, my family forgot to tell me. Yup – they just plain forgot. Since I live in Dallas and they live in California, sometimes things just get missed in the communications. It wasn’t until I asked Mom “How’s Alma doing?” and she stumbled with her words, realizing that I hadn’t known, that she told me that she had passed away several months prior.
Years before, Alma had informed me that she and her late husband had decided to give everything to charity. But what had at one time been just a concept was now reality. Just what does it mean to give everything to charity? Everything?? What about the family photographs, heirlooms, and other treasures? I had to find out! Because I had learned what had happened so late, her home had already been emptied by a company hired by the County. Strangers had gone through all of her things, including all of the things she had inherited from her mother, and her from her mother before that. I imagine that these workers had three choices – toss, sell, or put aside for the family.
It took a long time – about a year, but eventually the family did receive her photos and the older “genealogical” ones were shipped to me! I was fascinated with over 500 photos, some of whom I recognized, but many of which were complete strangers to me. If only I had been able to discuss them with Alma before she had died! I set about cataloging them, scanning them, and adding them to my collection. Once that was done, I started to try to identify who the people in the photos were, where they were taken, etc. Several of my upcoming posts will discuss these efforts.