Sue and daughtersI was cleaning out stuff in the attic. I had a thousand black and white negatives with contact prints from fifty years ago. I kept the ones I wanted, about twenty, and the rest I threw away into a box. Since it was the season, I wrapped the box up in Christmas paper and gave it to my three daughters. As they opened it and understood what it was, I said “Look what I saved you from doing. Now when I’m dead and gone you won’t have to sort through old pictures, just throw these away.”

Much to my surprise, they were delighted to go through and pour over the contents. The stories about my daughters’ early years in Africa with my husband and I came to life and they shared them with their children. The grandchildren then selected the pictures they felt were most meaningful. Later my grandchildren salvaged a window frame from our hundred year old farmhouse. They went through the pictures, chose the ones they liked, and put them in the frame.

Coming full circle, they showed me their appreciation of our family story. I was moved and delighted that the pictures meant something to them.
– Sue Swanlund