Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Miracle of Aunt Joan's Pictures

I was given the assignment to sort through thousands of Aunt Joan's photos.  I found many pictures I had never seen before, such as this one of her in 1927 in Logan.  Can you imagine Nana choosing the little shoes?

This picture was dated 1921, also taken in Logan.  Second from the left is Aunt Maydae.  The two kids on the right are Dad and Aunt Betsy.  The other girls were neighbor children.  How could a picture this wonderful have been kept from me until now?

Aunt Janet was born in Logan in 1922.  Grandfather Cannon, who I called Daddy Cannon, seems pretty enchanted with his fourth child.  Nana told me that he was exempt from WWI because they had three children in three years.  That was before they moved to Logan.

I inherited boxes upon boxes of albums, pictures and many, many other items that have needed attention of some kind.  Nana's sister, Joan's Aunt Mary, sent Joan a postcard from Hong Kong in 1937.  Joan was 10, and the family was living in a rented home on D Street in the Avenues.

This is quite a fancy postcard.  The man's clothing is embossed with each little part having a different texture.

I've seen several copies of this picture.  I did not know that it was also a postcard.  Daddy Cannon sent it to his mother from his mission in Paris about 1910.

I had never seen this photograph before. It has not held up well, but only because it appears to have been well-handled and perhaps shared during a meal.

This picture of Daddy Cannon and Nana was also new to me.  As anyone might expect, the bulk of Joan's pictures were of her family.

I am positive there is a great story behind this picture.  We'll never know.  Please no one tell me it looks like Nana is giving Daddy Cannon the boot.

Joan had quite a few pictures of Reid's family.  In case anyone has forgotten, Aunt Joan was my father's sister.  Her husband, Reid, was my mother's brother.  This made me a good choice to go through these photographs because hopefully I would recognize both sides of the family.  I definitely recognized this picture of Grandma Mary, which I have seen many times before.  However, on the back of this particular photograph, in Grandma's own handwriting, she said the picture was taken at a carnival in 1908 in Sheridan, Wyoming, which she had attended with her brother Leslie, a new tidbit.

Reid took this picture of his wife and sisters at a 90th birthday party for Grandma Mary.  I loved seeing Mom show up in so many photographs.  I am older now than Mom was when she died.  She's on the left, then Marilyn, Bobbie, Joan, and Hazel, whom we called Hattie.  Mom told me that Hattie made beautiful hats when she was a young woman, and her nickname came from that.  Dad called Bobbie "Barbara June."  I was a grown woman before I knew her actual name was Barbara May.  I don't know how Bobbie got her nickname.

The reason I know Reid took the last picture is because I'm certain he and Joan traded places.  Surely there was someone else around to hold the camera!

I was living in Texas when Grandma turned 90, so it was fun for me to peek in at the party I missed.

There are not many people on the planet that I loved more than Grandma Mary.

You might think going through pictures would be a simple project.  I'm telling you I had to engage my brain.  I wanted to see the writing on the cake.  Fortunately, I came across another photo of just the cake, so I scanned it in, for fun.

The picture has faded quite a bit, but I could see it well enough to be sure it was Grandma's 90th birthday.  Notice the nuts around side of the cake.

Over the years, I have scanned in many versions of this photograph of Nana.  I have assumed this was a birthday of some kind for her.  Nope.  Look at the cake.  Nana was at Grandma Mary's birthday party!

I scanned over 1000 photographs from Joan, but I was already an expert on how to preserve pictures.  Rule #1:  Never expose a picture to sunlight.  Since this is one of the best pictures taken of Grandma Mary, I suspect Reid had this in a prominent place, not thinking about preservation.

Nana had her own birthday parties.  This was Aunt Maydae's home.  Nana is sitting with Uncle Fenton.  I have a favorite memory of this man. He once imitated my 2-year-old son by kneeling next to my baby Cori and saying, "What doing, Dori?"  It was hysterical.

I have also seen many versions of this photograph.  Aunt Marilyn is on the left, then Grandma Mary.  Mom is in the middle, next to Hattie and Bobbie.  I learned during all this scanning that this photograph came from a stereoscope slide.   Raise your hand if you knew Uncle Reid was into stereoscope slides.  Did ANYONE know this?

I have seven albums of Uncle Reid's stereoscope slides.  SEVEN.  All neatly labeled, all in their own sleeves.  The next family to visit is going to sit with me and go through some of these slides, and I promise, after the first slide, they'll be hooked! My scanner did not innately know how to scan in stereoscope slides, and it took me 90 minutes to finally reach success with the first slide.  This picture and the next nine images came from these stereoscope slides.

Fortunately, I inherited viewers from Reid, black boxes which backlight the slides.  Replacement bulbs are no longer available, so I don't know how long we'll be able to enjoy these.  And enjoy is the going word.  These are fabulous, but in this blog, we are looking at them in 2-D.  This is Peggy in Aunt Joan's home.  Aunt Bobbie and Uncle John (this brought me no small amount of giggles when I was little) lived down the street from Uncle Reid and Aunt Joan.  In 3-D, which is what stereoscope slides are, the fire looks real.  Peggy's shoelace stands out.  She's holding a flower.

Sally and her friend are posing while Reid took this picture.  After sending this to Sally, she told me that Reid gave her a print of this many years ago. Once again, cute in 2-D, but astonishing in 3-D, where I can smell the bubble gum.

Just a heads up, notice the gold platter on the wall behind Uncle John, it shows up later.  You probably aren't noticing the flames on the candles, but through a 3-D viewer, they steal the show.

This is Daddy Cannon and Nana on their back porch, where our families spent many wonderful hours.  I showed this slide to some cousins.  This was a surreal experience, watching them look through the black-box viewers in a restaurant.  Their reaction was more than I could have hoped for.  They were as delighted as I had been.  Their comment on this slide, "Who made the sweater for Nana, Betsy or Joan?"  We'll never know.

The stereoscope camera, which I also have, has no viewer.  Despite that, Reid became skilled at getting everyone in the photo.  Nana and Daddy Cannon were visiting Joan in her home.

I had to crop this picture so you could see it better.  They are holding hands!  Notice the furniture.  Uncle Reid worked for American Telephone and Telegraph and had an excellent job.  After the first couple hundred photos, I began to notice that Reid and Joan had the latest of everything.

I believe this stereoscope slide was taken in Aunt Joan's home.  She is on the left, next to Grandma Mary.  Perhaps this is the nicest picture I have of Grandma Mary.  Uncle Barney was Aunt Hattie's second husband.  Her first husband, and heads up, this is a terrible story, so skip now if you don't want to know.  Hattie's first husband Hook (another nickname, he was a fabulous pitcher) was an electrician.  The lights went out at a ball park on the 24th of July in 1949 and he climbed up the pole to make repairs so the game could go on.  He was accidentally electrocuted in front of hundreds of people.  In going from bad to worse, Uncle Barney drowned at a family picnic while I was in high school.

I have three more stereoscope slides to show you.  This is a nice picture of Annette and Carolyn on the left.  Annette is holding her mother's hand, next to Joan.  You are looking at this in 2-D.  In 3-D, with the backlighting, I could feel the grass coming up around their feet.

For several decades, Reid and Joan spent their summers at Cedaredge, a campground high in the Colorado Rockies.  Not long after our mission, Ben and I visited them there.  I was quite surprised to see this photo and the next one.  Look -- Ben and I are holding hands, too!

For the record, we did not camp with them.  I did enough camping on my mission.  We stayed in a hotel that night.

I had to do some detective work as I scanned.  First, this was a very small photograph, about 1 inch by 2 inches.  I scanned it in with as much resolution as I could.  I was pretty sure Daddy Cannon was on the right.  I have no idea who the child is.  I knew Daddy Cannon built the home that he lived in for the last 10 years of his life.  It wasn't a large home.  But the foundation is wrong, the house wasn't that high off the ground.  I was mystified.  Cousins were pretty sure that the white house in the background belonged to the family of Daddy Cannon's sister Grace, although she was deceased by this time.  

A few days later I scanned in this picture.  The white house is visible, but this child is one I know -- this is Barbara.  I think she's about 2, so that makes the date for this picture about 1951.  And it confirms to me that these two pictures are indeed of Daddy Cannon building his home.

This picture was taken in 1953, and no one had seen it before.  I am certain that I have mentioned many times that five children were born in a 12-month period in 1952-1953.  Ann, Hattie's daughter, is crawling on the left, next to Tommy Innes.  Tommy Pratt is on the right.  Those are three of the five baby cousins.  Barbara is in the background next to Mary Jane, Hattie's oldest daughter.  One of the fun parts about scanning is that as I came across these treasures, I sent them to my cousins.  Tom replied that his mother was in the background.  That was the television he watched Howdy Doody on.  I love details.

If you are still looking for pointers about storing pictures, might I suggest that you turn the picture over, and then sideways, and carefully, in pencil, identify the people in the picture and add a date. Please and thank you.  I know this is Daddy Cannon, but that's all I know.

I had to call a helpline for this picture, several of them.  I know this is Nana's back porch.  I can see snow.  After a minute, I was sure my siblings and I were not present for this occasion.  At the time this photograph was developed, some camera shops printed a date on the front, and this date, which I had to crop off so I could zoom in on my cousins, was May 1960.  I knew that couldn't be correct, because Barbara and Tommy, who died in 1958, are in the picture.  Then I realized what had happened.  This picture was on the film in the camera when the kids died.  Joan kept photo albums from the time she was a very young girl until she was in her 80s, but for a few years after her children died, she stopped taking pictures.  I wondered what feelings went through Joan's heart when, after two years, she saw her children in this photograph after getting the film developed.  I could identify most of my cousins, but I will confess right here and now that I have trouble picking out my Kimball cousins.  With help, I now know that Carolyn is on the left, then Georgia, Sid, and Annette, who still remembers the dress she was wearing. Rosanne is behind her, next to Karen.  Barbara is in front of Karen, next to David, with Laurie squeezed next to the post.  Ed is next to Doug, with Cannon behind them.  Tommy is on the left.  Where is Bruce?  Perhaps he traipsed through the snow to take the picture.

One of the mysterious aspects of this project is that I kept thinking I was finished.  This happened over and over again, and then I'd turn around and see another box, another envelope, another album. Once again, I thought I had finished yesterday morning, but in the afternoon I saw a yellow envelope which I thought held letters.  I opened it only to find 100 pictures of a trip Joan and Reid took to Mexico in 1959.  Perhaps this was their first of what eventually became many, many trips to Mexico.  Letters were indeed also in this envelope.  Joan wrote her mother and told her that it took her almost an hour to reel in this blue marlin, and her arms were sore for several days afterward.

I like stamps, in case you didn't notice.  I have this envelope and the earlier postcard from Hong Kong on display, not tucked away.  This envelope contained a letter where Joan thanked her parents for money they had sent.  It sounds like Joan and Reid ran out of cash.  An earlier letter, not saved, apparently had the details.

I've seen this picture before.  Notice the platter behind Daddy Cannon's head.  Seeing that helped me identify Joan's home.  Notice the fancy doodads on the carving knife and fork.  Carving was a big deal in our family, and I sorted through many pictures of people carving the entree.

I guess this would be Exhibit B.  This was a solemn ritual in our home growing up.  Dad, and apparently Daddy Cannon, took this very seriously.

As a result, I can't explain this picture, but since Mom was laughing, Joan had clearly spoiled the moment.

I don't want anyone to think I became a photo critic during this project, but I did get annoyed that Reid seemed to like candid shots.  There were hundreds of photos of people's backs, of people talking, or eating.  (Never take pictures of people eating -- trust me on this.)  From Dad's hair, I can safely guess this picture is from the 1960s, after Daddy Cannon's death.  This seems to have been a favorite location, a sunny spot to the south of Nana's home.  Since Joan had this picture, I must assume this came from her camera, so Reid took the picture.  Could he have said, "Can everyone smile?"  Maybe he could have said, "And honey, could you take off your apron?"  Nana, gosh, I loved her.  I loved seeing pictures I had never seen before.  Nana is likely just a year or two older in that picture than I am now.  And the older I get, the curlier my hair gets.  Maybe it's a gene from her.  If so, thanks, Nana.

Ok, let's talk one more time about how much fun it has been to see pictures I have never seen before.  Grandma Mary on a donkey.  Could she have a bigger smile?  Perhaps she went with Reid and Joan on their next trip to Mexico.  I'm having a vague memory resurface that Grandma Mary went to Guatemala after she retired.  Who can recognize the fabric in the background?

I've seen this picture before.  Grandma Mary worked as a secretary at the Utah State Capitol building until she retired at 65.  Then she went to Hawaii.  This is divine.

I scanned in quite a few pictures of Nana and her sisters.  They remained very close throughout their lives.  Rachel is on the left, Nana on the right.

I was kind of sad to disassemble Joan's albums, but it had to happen.  Joan kept nice pages of each of her sisters.  This is Aunt Janet and Uncle Pete.  I gave this to Annette who had a very faded copy and was happy to have this pristine photograph.

This picture of Fenton and Maydae was next to their marriage announcement which had happened decades before the photograph was taken.

Another page was for Uncle Bill and Marilyn.  Based on photographs, these two spent a tremendous amount of time with Joan and Reid.  I know they got around -- they once visited me in Virginia.

This was a Polaroid photograph, which someone else must have taken and given them, because I saw no evidence that Joan had a Polaroid camera.  Kept out of the sun, Polaroids hold up well, just so you know.

I loved seeing this lovely picture of Uncle John and Aunt Bobbie.  They lived in Idaho for awhile, and it seems to me that our family saw more of them than other aunts and uncles while I was growing up.

I mentioned Reid's propensity for candid shots.  Please, Uncle Reid.  Could he have waited until Nana was off the phone?  (To anyone young reading this -- that black thing with the cord is a telephone.)  Could he have asked Joan to look at the camera?

There were many nice pictures, though, such as this one.  I suspect someone bought Nana's dress for her.  This is a little bolder than what I remember her wearing.  Notice her pearls.  She always wore her strand of pearls.  You are welcome at any time to ask me about the love seat.

Another confession -- I found myself concluding that if I didn't know the person who almost but not quite looks like Georgia, then it must be Rosanne.  I have a flashbulb memory of Rosanne.  It was when she eloped.  This caused no little stir in our family.  Then she moved to California.  I did not see Rosanne again for decades, which is why I can't recognize her in photographs. Nana is on the left, Aunt Maydae is standing.  VJ is the other adult besides Rosanne.

I've scanned in various copies of this picture several times over the years.  Nana kept raisin bread in her fridge.  I have the top photograph that is in the background, and the shelf now resides in my dining room.  Dad was a good son to Nana.

I've scanned in a few copies of this picture, too, but this was in excellent condition.  I love seeing my mother with a smile on her face.  She loved her siblings very much.  Joan had penciled in a date on the back:  1980.  Another sister, Gladys, was born into this family, but she died in 1927 at age 12 from pneumonia.

One more picture I had never seen before.  This is a sunny spot outside Grandma Mary's home.  I'm realizing that I don't believe I've ever seen Grandma Mary in slacks.

Joan sewed.  And sewed.  And sewed.  She loved the hat she was wearing, which she had made, which almost goes without saying.  She cut the fabric for many of these hats to give away as gifts.  I never got one, and I can't say that I'm disappointed.  Many people visited Joan and Reid, Aunt Maydae being one of them.  I saw lots of pictures of guests on hike after hike after hike.

Joan took a lot of pictures of her mother, especially as Nana got older.  Near the end of her life, Nana had a stroke, and since her children were in their 60s, they weren't in good enough shape to care for her properly.  Mom and Dad visited Nana often in a nursing home in Logan where Nana lived until her death.

I collected quite a few pictures of Nana's family visiting in her later years.  Mom is on the left next to Uncle Fenton, with Pete in the center.  Reid has his arm around Nana.  Pete and Janet lived in Logan, but the other family members lived elsewhere.

Nana passed away in the spring of 1983.  This picture was taken a year or so before that, during a period when Mom experimented with growing out her grey.  I loved seeing Mom's smile in this picture.  It makes me cry.  Mom's sisters-in-law have each told me how much they loved her.

Many people attended Nana's funeral.  I could not attend, as I was only a few weeks away from having a baby.  The luncheon afterward was held at Aunt Maydae's home, just a few blocks from the Salt Lake City Cemetery.  This, of course, is my oldest brother Collins Philip and his family.  For the record, the kid with the big grin is Erik, not Gabe, in case you are confused.

Uncle Pete is on the left.  I loved seeing this picture of Uncle Ted.  I scanned in only a few of him.

Joan must have snapped this picture of Nana's coffin.  The only reason I'm including it is because I recognize Mom in the background. (The dress is unforgettable.) What I know that you might not realize is that Mom was just three months away from dying, something none of us knew at the time. This is a poignant picture.  I looked up the word to be sure.  I can give advice about other things besides preserving pictures.  Make sure the people you love know you love them.  I am grateful I knew that Mom knew I loved her.

I mentioned that Bill and Marilyn visited Reid and Joan often.  And everyone went on hikes.  On this trip they took Hattie, on the right.

Reid and Joan traveled to California in 1986 for my cousin Peggy's wedding.  I love this picture!  Remember that Peggy and Sally grew up just a few houses away from Reid and Joan, so they were always close.

I have to presume that Reid and/or Joan took these pictures, because they didn't ever show up in the same photo.  This is a lovely picture of Peggy with her parents, John and Bobbie.  Bobbie died just two years later, but I believe she was already ill by this time.

This is such a lovely picture, the lighting, the smiles.  Peggy passed away after being married only ten years, but fortunately no one at this time knew that tragic event was in the future.

All of Peggy's family attended her wedding, including her brother John.

This is Sally, without the bubble gum, and her husband.

Peggy's oldest sister is Jane, not to be confused with Mary Jane, another cousin on Reid's side of the family.

Joan had pictures from many special events.  In 1991, Maydae and Fenton celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Their kids all came.  I recognize Frank, so I knew Rosanne must be in front of him on the right.  VJ and Doug are on the left, next to Laurie and DJ, who are next to Georgia and Wally.

Random pictures tumbled out of quart storage bags, albums and envelopes.  I love this picture -- I'm certain Marilyn and Bill had taken Reid and Joan to visit the gravesite of one of Marilyn and Reid's pioneer ancestors.

I love that Hattie was included so often.  Picnics were a speciality with Reid and Joan, a tidbit I learned from all of these pictures.  For the record, I never saw a picnic without a tablecloth.

Hattie became too frail to travel at the end of her eighty-seven years.  I saw several pictures of this event -- Marilyn and Bill took Reid and Joan out to Roosevelt to visit Hattie.

Dad visited with his sisters often after Mom died.  They were always a happy, but loud, crew.

This is a wonderful picture -- let me tell you what you are seeing.  Amy, on the left, is holding her daughter Mi'rin, next to Aunt Maydae, who in this picture was more likely known as Grandma Smith.  Joan is with Mekele, Amy's other daughter.  Rosanne is Amy's mother, making this a four-generation photograph.

On another occasion, Aunt Maydae posed with seven of her granddaughters.  I'm counting, maybe she only has seven. Jenny and Maren are in the back, then Mary Jane and Carrie next to their mother, Georgia.  Amy and Rachel are in the front with their Grandma Smith.  I love pictures like these, and it's special to me that someone thought to share this with Joan.  Something that came out at Joan's graveside service was that Joan knew every single member of the family.  I knew that, but I didn't realize until after Joan's death that everyone else knew that fact, too.  My cousins talked about this through their tears -- not only did Joan know us all, but she loved all of our family members.  And it helped that so many people shared their lives with Aunt Joan and Uncle Reid.

I took this picture of Joan, Maydae and Janet at a gathering in 2010.  No need to look for the digital original on my computer because I'd made this print and sent it to Joan.  And like bread upon the waters, it came back to me, as did many other pictures I had sent to Joan.  I am aware that a sifting of some kind happened before I received the bulk of the photos, so I didn't get every single picture Joan every had.  (I only got a few thousand, is all.)

Someone sent this picture to Joan after a family gathering in New Mexico in 1979.  It wasn't me -- I've never seen this picture before.  My Jeff is standing next to me and I am holding David Cannon, Phil's youngest son who died at age two.  Only a few years ago did I learn that some in our family didn't even know this child ever lived -- he died before many of the next generation were born, and it was so heartbreaking that few ever spoke of him.  

Christmas pictures, I love them!  And many in our family sent their Christmas photos to Joan and Reid over the years.  It adds up, let me tell you.  This is Mike's family about 1978. Tom, on the right, just married off a daughter.  Time flies.

I find myself easily able to recognize Frank, on the right, and believe it or not, Amy, back left.  Therefore, Lee is on the right behind his dad, and Rosanne, a lovely young mother, must be in front.

Amy and Aunt Joan had a special bond.  Everyone knew it.  As Amy's family grew, she never failed to send Joan Christmas cards.

Here is Grandma Smith holding her great-granddaughter, Mi'rin. I remember when this tiny child learned to walk, Maydae told me it was like watching a baby doll slide off a lap and walk across the room.

This is Bill and Marilyn's family, many years ago.  When I would call Joan, she would give me updates on everyone.  Sometimes our calls were very long.  (We also talked about books, for the record.)

Seeing so many Christmas cards from Mike to Joan melted my heart.  He always added several handwritten paragraphs.

Some moments while scanning became sobering.  So many people I loved have died.  I miss Mike.

On the other hand, sometimes I laughed.  I will never forget Virgil, front and center.

Maydae worried about her little sister Joan and watched over her throughout her life.  And Joan knew and appreciated it.  I have scanned many pictures that came from Smith family members.

This is one example, and for the record, I have always been able to name all the Smith kids.  Watch me: L-R:  Hayley, Amber, Spencer, Maren and Rachel.

I really can't single any one person out for loving Joan the most, but Laurie was with Joan the last ten days of her life.  This picture is of her next to her dad, Fenton, with DJ, on the left, and his son Joe's family.

Here are the Kimballs, in a picture taken in Aunt Mayday's home in 1985.  The picture was carefully labeled on the back, so I can tell you who they are.  Sid on the left, with Bruce and Ed behind Karen, with David on the right.

Karen has lived in New York forever, when she wasn't living in Greece with her husband Nick, on the right.  She sent this lovely picture of her family to Joan.

While this is a great picture of Janet and Pete's family, with Carolyn on the left next to Annette and Cannon on the right, it's also a good time to ask everyone to never print out a photo at home using printer ink.  Please, always use a service that prints using quality ink and paper, and this is not hard to find: Costco, Walgreens, even Walmart.  But this was good paper and it scanned in well.

I have never met the child in the center of this picture, but her name is Alexandra.  She's with her grandmother Janet and mother Sherri.

She is Cannon's youngest daughter.

Alex adopted Aunt Joan as an extra grandmother.  I sifted through dozens, maybe a hundred photographs of Alex taken throughout the years.  I learned about the adoption at Joan's graveside service.  This explains why every time I called Joan, she told me where Alex was and what she was doing, with little or no mention of her parents.

Alexandra and Charlotte are cousins.

I have to stop and think.  Give me a minute.  This is Hannah and Eliza Butcher with Alex.  Hannah and Eliza's grandfather Douglas Smith is a cousin to Cannon Randall, Alex's father.  There, I got it.  And my relationship to Alex?  I'm also her grandfather's cousin.  It gets crazy, I know.

This is what families do -- they make each other happy.  I am FB friends with Joe Farrell, the kid sitting next to his Grandfather Pete.  After scanning this picture in, I sent it to him.  He loved it.

Another random picture, this one from a gallon ziplock bag.  I believe the gallon bags entered the picture (no pun intended) when Joan was sorting photos for more albums, but was out of albums.  Betsy is on the left with her mother Annette and grandmother Janet:  three generations.

These are Janet's grandsons.  I think I can name them:  Andy, Joe, Carter and Pete.  Genealogy can be a serious mental exercise. 

Janet wrote a note on the back of this picture of her granddaughters when she sent this to Joan.  Betsy had played for a wedding and Charlotte was the page-turner.

This picture is like a bad penny -- it shows up over and over again.  And here it is, one more time. From the vault of  Aunt Joan: my three pimp sons, Dave, Jeff and Sammie.

Please someone tell me why I scan in pictures I have already scanned in.  I don't know.  This was Christmas 1984.

I finally had a daughter!  Joan was thrilled for me, but not so happy that her nickname Cori was, in Joan's mind, a boy's name.  Joan smocked a dress for Cori anyway.  She sent me the pieces after she smocked the front and sleeves and I sewed it together.  There were two dresses, now that I think about it, this one and a blue dress.  I still have them both.

In 1990 Dave got a drivers license.  No one would get in the car with him.  When I was younger, I worried that if I shared these kinds of family experiences with Joan, she might be resentful that my parents had children and grandchildren, and her children had died.  As the years passed, I never got that sense.  I realized that she was happy for me, happy for the people she loved.  She loved us, and we loved her back.  It was that simple.

In 1996, Joan and Reid began receiving wedding pictures of the grandchildren of their siblings.  Maren and Trent were married in 1996.

In 1999, Reed and Heidi got married.  Reed might not know that he is connected to both Joan and Reid, just like I am.

So is Becky, who married James in 1999.

Rachel, Grandma Smith's granddaughter, married Jonas in 2000.  I must add that I was there from the start -- they announced their engagement from my home in Virginia.

I'm not sure I've ever met Andy, but I've now seen enough pictures of him that I can pick him out.  He married Nollie in 2000.

Erik, also related to both Joan and Reid, married Cami in 2001.

That was the same year Mary Jane, another Smith granddaughter, married Jason.

Sarah Powell, a granddaughter of Aunt Bobbie and Uncle John, got married in 2001.

Dan married Amber, still another Smith granddaughter in 2002.  "Babies" was Amber's response when I IM'd her this picture.

We're up to 2003, when my son Steve married Janet.  He had three older married siblings by this time.  I'm 100% positive I sent Joan wedding announcements.  Many pictures had double-sided tape on the back.  Some came to me in albums and others came in bags and even others came in frames.  No one should worry if their picture is not here; it still happened whether or not Joan kept the picture.

David, also related to both Joan and Reid, married Alisha in 2005.

Laura, also related to both Joan and Reid, married Aleks in 2005.  This picture was printed on paper with a texture, but it has held up well, although admittedly it's only been 13 years.  Maybe that's the most important message for today:  Smile, look at the camera, and spend time with people you love.

I did not know Joan kept photo albums until they fell into my lap after her death.   This has been a gift, a miraculous gift, which has reminded me how long the arms of love are when it comes to families.

Thank you, Julie. You're Welcome, Louie.

Did I really want to start this last post of Steve's visit with another picture of my groupies watching Star Trek?  I sure did.  We'...