Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Family History Friday #15

   This past Sunday morning I was looking at family search.org. The pedigree chart was in portrait mode and I noticed that it didn't show a photo for my maternal grandmother, Lillian Mae Rolo. I was sure we had photos of her uploaded into the memories section so I investigated further.

    As it turns out there were a number of wonderful photos of Lillian I could chose to display on the pedigree chart. However, I found something much more important than the photos. I found eight letters she had written to her children, just a few months before she died in a sanitarium from tuberculosis. I had known about one of the letters which was addressed to my mother, but I didn't know about the ones to her siblings. 

      It just so happened that Mom's younger sister (Macel Arlene Sinor) was visiting us at the time. I walked downstairs and introduced my Aunt Arlene to family search.org. As it turned out, she didn't know about the letters. She was such a small child at the time of her mother's death that she doesn't remember her mother at all. It was a special moment for her to be able to read her mother's last expression of her love for her children and to her specifically.

    Later that day, as I was sitting in church, I pondered what had gone into the preservation of those very special letters. First of all, Lillian's mother, Ann Lee Stromer (married name Rolo)  had chosen to save the letters after Lillian died just a few months later. Later, when grandma Rolo died, the letters came to the custody of Lillian's older sister, Elsie Rolo (married name Shuck). When Aunt Elsie died, the letters came into the possession of Elsie's daughter Patty. When Patty found the letters, she passed them on to my mother, Cozette, who shared them with other family members, which lead to the letters being uploaded onto familysearch.org. I couldn't help but think of the sacred nature of a mother's last expression of her love for her children and it moved me to tears. Linda was sitting next to me and kept asking me if I needed a tissue.

  There were so many people who possessed the letters and each of them could have easily thrown them away or simply misplaced them among all of the other stuff we all carry around. I am convinced that the dead are very much involved in preserving the records that are important to their story. I also believe it was no coincidence that I found the letters on family search while my Aunt Arlene was here.

    Among the letters from Lillian, there was also one letter from my grandfather, James Wilburn Sinor, Sr.  My mother has some issues with her father and has been pretty critical of him. In this letter he wrote about his love for his children and how much he missed them. He also expressed regret for the decision to leave their children with Lillian's parents in Klickitat, Washington while he took her to California to get treatment for her tuberculosis. A good part of the letter was devoted to expressing concern for Lillian's health and happiness. He may not have been the perfect father, but it was clear that he loved his wife and children. After reading the letter I was a little more inclined to cut him a little slack.

    I would like to have included some of the letters and photos of Lillian and her husband, James Wilburn Sinor, but I was unable to figure out how to transfer the photos from family search. When I figure that out I will do like a congressman and revise and extend my remarks.




1 comment:

  1. I hope you can figure out how to upload them here!

    ReplyDelete