A week ago I was standing in my mother's garage wading through a mountain of family memories. And I do mean a mountain! I'm Victoria Bylin. I write westerns for Love Inspired Historicals, but last week I was merely Darlene Bylin's daughter and in charge of sorting through the Bylin family archives.
I found all sorts of treasures . . . One was a picture of my grandmother in front of a flower shop in Chicago where she worked. Family legend has it Al Capone asked her for a date.
My mom kept a scrapbook of her high school romance with my dad. Would you believe she saved a wrapper (clean!) from a Bob's Big Boy hamburger? Inside was a note that read, "February 12th, 1948, the day Jack asked me to go steady."
My brother and I also found pictures of us taken when we were 6 and 3 (I'm older and he won't let me forget it!). My mom had dozens of framed copies, all returned to the family archives when elderly relatives who'd originally received them passed on.
There's more . . . my dad's North Hollywood High letterman sweat, his "cracker jack" Navy uniform. My mom's endless supply of fake ivy, her shoes and matching purses. Baby rings. Baby bibs. Construction paper flowers. Report cards. A crystal basket. A handmade salt shaker. And greeting cards! My mom saved every single one she ever received . . . She was 75 when she made a triumphant march to Heaven, which adds up to a zillion Hallmark greetings.
Going through family stuff was quite a journey. We laughed and we cried. We relived wonderful times and recalled times we thought we'd forgotten. My sons -- the next generation -- were with my brother and me as we worked. Our memories were old, but theirs were brand new. The past, present and future met in a wonderful moment of sharing. What a gift!