I recently signed on as a consultant with a company called Once Upon a Family. It's a work-from-home company along the lines of Avon, Pampered Chef and Creative Memories. I signed on because the main goal of the company is to bring families together by implementing traditions that celebrate families. Of course the company has products to support all of the traditions! But what I like about the company is that the celebration is the focus, not necessarily the sales of the products. (My website is www.onceuponafamily.com/210147)
One of their products is a family tree. It's a foam core board with a beautiful tree printed on it. It comes with a bag of 25 paper leaves and push pins. I'm in the process of filling out the leaves and attaching them. The front of the leaf has four blanks - name, relationship, date of birth and birthplace. The back of the leaf is blank so that you can stick a photo on it. When my grandfather passed away I asked my dad and aunt if I could have all of the old photos that Bigdaddy kept in his office. I have those in my guest room now. I scanned them into my computer, color corrected, cropped and then printed out pictures the right size for the leaves.
Here I sit at my desk with faces of my ancestors looking up at me. Who are they? I know from looking up some family trees on the web that my great-great grandmother was a direct descendant of German royalty - the Brandenburgs. I have a picture of her here, but I don't know anything about her. What was her favorite color? What was she really, really good at? I see a picture of my great grandfather with his handlebar mustache. What did his voice sound like? I see that my grandmother had her mother's mouth. And the resemblance between my great grandfather, grandfather, father, brother and nephew is just plain spooky.
I am so glad that I have these photographs. I am so glad that I can pass this family tree on to my children and their children. And I'm glad that I can start a tradition of writing (blogging!) about the little things that make up a human being. Not just when and where they were born, but how much pepper they put on their eggs, if they were good at dominoes and what their favorite joke was. If humor is hereditary, that joke will have something to do with farts.