This was my mailbox yesterday, Feb. 13. When I saw the package it held, I had to grab my camera and take a picture. A scene like this is every genealogist's dream--to walk to the mailbox and open it to find a bulging, heavy, large package that contained a much-awaited collection of family photos, documents, records, and news clippings.
Let me set the stage for this delivery. In 2005 my friend Shelly enlisted my help in researching some of her family as she had hit a "brick wall". I devoted 5 weeks to intense study, research and analysis and was able to identify many of her ancestors, after which I printed a large Family History Book for her. After I posted my findings online, I was contacted by one of Shelly's cousins, Debbi. We established a friendship over the months that followed, each sharing stories, names, dates, and photographs to the other's collections. Our communications with each other have become less frequent in the last few years as we've each been consumed with other family activities and responsibilities.
I happily discovered a letter from Debbi last week in my inbox, explaining that, while her grandmother (and Shelly's aunt) had passed away 10 years ago, her grandmother's second husband passed away just recently. Debbi and her sisters were engaged to go through his possessions. Debbi was granted permission to keep all family heirlooms related to the family's history. And through what I call a blessing from God, Debbi recalled that I'd assembled quite a family history on her family for her cousin Shelly (with whom she had not been acquainted) and she thought I might be interested in receiving the photos and other paperwork that she now possessed that related to Shelly's family.
I could scarcely write back quickly enough with my reply "YES!". Upon assuring her that I'd love to have the photos and documents, I promised to also deliver them into Shelly's hands, their rightful owner. I'm the friend and researcher, but the photos are of Shelly's immediate family and they belong to her. I cried with happiness and true joy as I delivered this wonderful and surprising news to Shelly. She cried as she responded to me with initial disbelief and gradual astonishment at her good "fortune". We waited so very impatiently for Debbi to send the promised treasure to us.
After I brought this package in from my mailbox, I excitedly called Shelly and told her to come over. I got everything ready. Soft drinks: check; scissors: check; camera: check; and a box of Kleenex for us crybabies: check!