Family Memory Reminder

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Steely's thread about going to spend the last days with her father brought this to mind.

    The most precious thing to most of us is our family. Many of us have lost older relatives and we know that what we miss the most isn't a specific thing, it is the time we spent with them.

    PLEASE make a point as you go through your life to take time to record your loved ones. Even if you just take a voice recorder or even an old tape recorder, get your relatives to tell you their memories and the old family stories as you record them. Then make copies of these. Keep one copy in a safe place, with your will or in a safe deposit box. If you are the victim of a tragedy like a fire or tornado or whatever, you will be able to replace the clothing and books and computers. You won't be able to replace these.

    Easter is coming up, a time for family gatherings and traditions. Some of us have children or grandchildren coming, and we also have some already an integral part of our lives. Take time to record YOURSELF reading to them, telling them memories of your childhood, of your life before them, of their relatives.

    If your grands live far away, or any relative does, send an mp3, cd or cassette tape of you talking to them instead of a letter. My grandfather had a difficult time writing so for several years he and my gma sent cassette tapes to us instead of letters. We CHERISH these tapes and wish that we had more of them. I shared a copy of one with a cousin and was astounded to hear her cry when she called me. Her mother was not as close to our gpa as mine was, so she didn't spend as much time with him or know him the way we did. Hearing his voice brought back wonderful memories that she ahd forgotten.

    Another way to preserve the family memories is to preserve the recipes. We all have family favorites that some family member makes better than anyone else (or worse if you have my mother in law - but even those recipes are special and make us laugh!) and food is often a central theme in family gatherings. If you have a collection of recipe cards from a relative, or know of a relative with a good size collection, make copies.

    A few years back I took the recipe cards that my grandparents gave me and copied them. I didn't type them into the computer. I put them on a copy machine. Then I put them in binders and sent them to my aunt, cousins, etc.... for Christmas. We were broke and it was a really inexpensive gift. It also meant more, and was worth far more than the expensive gifts we sent in past years. Some of these were in my Gpa's handwriting, or had his notes. Some were in my Gma's writing (stepmom to my mom and aunt) and some were in my other Gma's writing. She died when my mom was 10 and my aunt was 25. My cousins had not ever seen her handwriting except on a few very old documents. Some of the recipes were thought to have been lost decades before, like Gpa's divinity.

    Anyway, this opened up a whole flood of memories for all of us and it was one of the best gifts I could have given to any of my relatives.

    Remember this, and do what you can to preserve these memories - NOW. You never know when something will happen. If all you can find is a tape recorder from decades long past, go ahead and use it. You can put them onto the computer fairly easily - the gizmo we got cost about $30.
  2. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    The tape recorder is a wonderful idea! When I was a kid, I had no interest in family history at all! I was around my older relatives all the time and couldn't even imagine that they had ever been young, raised their own families, lead very interesting lives. It never even occurred to me to ask them. And now that I'm older I find myself trying to piece a lot of it together, where they came from, how certain people were related to us, trying to validate a few old family stories. And it's sad to think that everyone who could have answered my questions is gone now! What I wouldn't give to have one more day with my grandmother, just to ask her questions and get her to talk to me about when she was young! Even if your own children don't seem too interested in it all now, they will be!

    I finally joined and I'm doing research and getting it all down and will print it out for my children. You can tap into other people's "Trees" too and get information from them. One of my cousins has done very extensive research on my dad's side and posted old family pictures that I never even knew existed. I now know what my great-great-grandfather looked like! Fascinating stuff when you get in to it!
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I don't tape..........I sound horrid on tape. lol

    But I'm the one with all the family stories........for both sides. Well, husband has some from his side, but mother in law told me the bulk and that stuff I tend to remember as my grandma instilled in me how important it is to know. She was big on the "if you don't know where you come from how will you ever know where you're going?" thing.

    And I've been passing them down since my kids were small.........and continue to do as they are adults, and even have been doing it with the grands since they were very small. They actually eat it up. lol Pretty cool to hear how great grandma did such and such when she was a kid. lol It's something I do automatically and spontaneously. Something going on will trigger the memory of a particular story or group of stories and out they come. With the grands I'll often go find a picture of the person if they don't know who they are........because they always ask me to so they know who I'm talking about. is good..........but be sure to double check any info yourself before assuming someone really did the work and got the facts straight.

    I have a cousin, a very very intelligent cousin, who is also an idiot. He came up with a brilliant method for searching family trees ect. So brilliant it was published and it was a major seller. He used my maternal grandma's tree for the book. I do recall mom calling me to make sure her vital information on my family was correct, I corrected what was wrong........and even corrected a lot for the rest of the family while at it. (like I said, grandma had spouted this info to me from early childhood I could still reel it off without effort) Book comes out, Mom is all excited and brings her copy when she comes to visit. I thought it was pretty cool too, until I started looking stuff up. My birthdate was wrong. He had husband's birthdate wrong, and had him born in Il when he was born in oh. ALL my kids info was wrong. So I look at others..........99 percent of the info in that book was wrong.........he did fine on getting grandma's birthdate correct and those of her children and his own sibs........after that? Phhht. All wrong. I was livid. Especially after like dealing with 10 or more long involved phone calls while he was writing the darn book to make certain info was correct.

    And I'm sorry, but if you can't get living people's information correct when it's so easy to get? Then how much ancestry info did you mess up when old records ect can be tough to dig through and be sure you have the right person and not just someone with the same name? ugh

    The really sad part? People bought his book to learn HOW to do family genealogies. No matter how much family protested.......he never made corrections. phht.

    So my warning...........don't just take someone else's word for it. They could be wrong.
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Lisa, I've found that out! I've been trying to fill in some of the missing information on my mother side and I've found lots of mistakes in other people's trees. Some of these people doing the research are very distant relatives but the people they're researching are family members I knew as a child. It gets very, very complicated. My maternal grandmother was the second-youngest of eleven children, although all the older ones were dead by the time we came along. Some people have some of them listed twice - once under their real names and once under a nickname, like they were two different people! You can access all the old census records but that gets confusing too. They were all handwritten, and there's a lot of errors. My maternal great grandmother's name was Katherine but some records have her as "Catherine" or "Caterina" or "Katie" and unless you search on the right one, you won't find her. My paternal grandmother was Mary Margaret but some census records have her as "Mayme" or "Mamie" which is what everybody called her. A lot of these ancestors a few generations back were German immigrants and the German names on the early records were eventually Americanized - lots of "Heinrichs" that morphed into "Henrys". And all the men seem to use only about ten names in different combinations, and it wasn't unusual for them to give the same first name to more than one of their children! One GGgrandmother was married to a man named Gerhard in Germany and had several children, then when he died, she married his younger brother, who was also named Gerhard, and had several more children - and named two of them "Gerhard"!! Try figuring that one out! It's fascinating but a little sad too and you can really tell how different their lives were from ours. Families were very large and almost all of them lost one or more of their children in infancy. I knew that my paternal grandmother had two older brothers but I never knew that when she was five, she lost a seven year old sister and an infant brother to diptheria and that my father had been named for this lost baby brother. A lot of the women died in childbirth and the men quickly remarried to have someone to care for the children, then had more children, so a lot of them are only half-siblings, or some of the children were farmed out to various relatives to raise when the mother died and it's hard to track them down on the records. Very sad really.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    True Donna, it's sad and can certainly be very very confusing.

    I did some research on my Dad's side.........let's just say if you want to have a nervous breakdown quick try to do it with very little info except people's names and since they were native......tended to drift a LOT between canada and america without thought. Then you've got native culture where a person's name will change for various reasons, male and you've got americanized versions as well for some.......many census and reservation personnel would decide to add a christian sirname....sometimes a full name just because........omg.........and the whole does the nation do the family line paternally or maternally ugh Oh, and let's not forget children shipped off to Indian schools, some of whom chose normal chrisitan names and then never returned so in effect "lost" to their families.

    I've decided first opportunity I'm headed out for family on the rez and they can answer (hopefully) enough questions to make it somewhat less confusing. lol Otherwise? I give up on actual dates ect. I'll just have to make do with names/places/ time periods and the stories themselves.

    My maternal grandmother's side is a cake walk compared to my father's side. ugh lol I know when my great grandfather boarded the ship with his parents to come over from germany. I know when he founded the town outside the city where I grew up, even the date it was founded ect. So much easier. Is why I was so ticked when my cousin couldn't even get dates for the present time correct. sigh
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We had a cousin who went nuts with this for a while. We loved it. But... It got lost in the shuffle of illness, moving, etc.

    My kids' family tree is a mess, simply because we have little information on BM's side, and the likelihood of getting it is, well - yeah, not happening. When her father died in 2007 (?), the kids found out that Mommy had at least two half sisters and a half brother - all halves to one another too - their Gpa was not exactly a faithful man. I think even BM was surprised.

    ...And on MY side - my mother's parents were each the youngest of 9 - LIVING - children. One of my Gpa's brothers was beaten to death by G-Gpa; back then, no CPS... Gma was so much younger than her oldest brother, that she had nieces and nephews older than she...

    And my Mom was the oldest of three - but too young to remember either of her brothers, one of whom lived 4 days (she was just over 1 y/o) and the other of whom died in utero - and Gma had to carry him still because no good way to induce (this is the story, and they are sticking to it). Gma was a little weird. She absolutely adored me - but she was WEIRD.

    My DAD, was the middle child of three. Oldest son. His Gpa, we don't even know a birthdate on; and Gma "ran off with a truck driver"... Who really knows??? Other Gma and Gpa, I remember as living in a nursing home when I was very small, and it was the kind of place that smelled funny. NOT like most nursing homes now!!!

    I could put together a sketchy tree, but...
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    For those who like the geneology stuff, or are interested, there is a show on one of the networks called 'Who Do You Think You Are' that searches the history of a celebrity and they find out about their family. It is now in the second season. In the first one Lisa Kudrow travelled to I think the Ukraine to meet a cousin who helped a relative get to the US during WW2 and Sarah Jessica Parker learned that one of her ancestors was tried as a witch in Salem. I haven't seen this season - haven't had time - but I know they just had Lionel Ritchie. It is on and also on the network as a full episode (not sure if it is ABC, CBS, or NBC, sorry).

    I don't like my voice on tape either, Lisa. You may remember that my voice is so bad that Wiz cried when I sang to him - this started at birth, not as a difficult child thing to upset me. I still record some things because my kids have asked. This way if something happens they will still be able to hear my voice and so will their kids and grandkids.

    I had the coolest thing happen in college. I took a photography class and another student who used the lab when I did had the same last name. I was in school in TX and my family is from OH/IN area, NOT TX. This other student was from TX. For some reason we were talking about old family stories and she told one that she heard from her great grandparents. It was the EXACT story that I heard from MY greatgma. About the same town, she had some of the same not typical memories, etc.... We looked at some old records that our relatives had and figured out that we were related.

    NOT on the side that had the same name. The story came from my great gma's side of the family, NOT her husband's. Same for this other girl. In different cities, in different generations, the same 2 families married. It was the strangest thing, but we checked the family data, the old family bible on our side, and it was true.

    Proved to me that truth is stranger than fiction!

    Don't forget to include some recipes in your handwriting if you are doing a recipe collection. Having them typed just doesn't mean as much or bring back as many memories years down the road. I put my copy of the recipes and copies for my bro and parents into those sheet protectors. I still have the cards and the master copy, but the sheet protectors really help keep them clean and kid-proof.
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Susie, I LOVE that show!

    And Step, I think I'm finding out the same thing about one of my great grandfathers! And I'm finding out that a lot of the old family stories weren't true and that it may have been my mother who had it wrong! This GGgrandfather was my mom's father's father. He died two years before I was born so I never knew him but he has always just fascinated me. He was a very intelligent man, very kind and loving, and very handsome - tall and straight with a big handlebar mustache. I have a portrait of him hanging on my wall! We were always told that he had married twice - that he had had several children with the first wife, then when she died he remarried and had several more children, the second to the youngest was my grandfather. And I remember the three elderly great aunts who were my grandfathers (half?)sisters, supposedly from this first wife. But in checking the records there was no second wife! He immigrated from Germany when he was 14, married at 22, and was still married to this same woman when she died in her 70's! There are old census records that show that these three sisters did not live with the rest of the family! I can't find them anywhere! I can find them as adults under their married names but not as children! And they're not all older than the rest of the other siblings, their ages are intersperced with the others. And one record shows one of them with another woman listed as her mother, but there are so many people with the same names, I'm not even sure if it's the right one! Which all makes me wonder ... did he have a mistress while he was married? Was there another woman who was the mother of three of his children? But my grandfather and these three sisters were all very close, which would be strange if they weren't raised together, or if the sisters were from their fathers mistress. This one may stay a mystery because I can't find anything!

    And I'm finding out that I shouldn't put too much store in old family stories either! In her later years my mother always told me about making a trip to see my dad's grandmother when my older brother was an infant. She went in to great detail about her, even down to the color of her eyes! Never happened! My dad's grandmother died two years before my brother was born!
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Imagine our surprise...

    My Mom's Mom's Mom - catch that? - was an absolute saint. We're talking religious, really cool lady at the same time. Handmade my Mom's wedding dress at the age of 88. But seriously, could do no wrong. Till we found out... Gma's oldest bro? Was born 5 months after the wedding. (Err, yeah, a month early would be plausible...)

    What made it all the more confusing was that according to all the legal records, etc., they were married in November. According the the family Bible, they were married the previous June... And Great-uncle H was born in April.

    FWIW - Susie, I think you're from Ohio (???), but... Gma was born in Wetumka, OK... (Though Gma SWORE it was "Wetumpka" and her birth certificate said so, too...)
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    One thing for sure though, those people sure didn't get divorced! In our HUGE family, on both sides, I have yet to see even one divorce in those past generations, absolutely none until you get to the last two generations! Men may have had their mistresses, even had children by other women, but they didn't divorce! And people took care of each other in those days. No nursing homes then so the families cared for their elderly relatives at home. No welfare in those days, no CPS either, so if a parent died or fell on hard times, the family members took in the children and raised them as their own. And the old German custom of a younger brother marrying his older brothers widow and raising his children came about because the family felt a responsibillity and an obligation to care for them.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am not good with this ancestry stuff but around here we have the Lumbee tribe and quite a few of the folks are related some how if you dig deep enough. We actually believe from information one of the "older" relatives in the family that Cory and Keyana's Mom are somehow related way back. LOL. On Tony's mom's side and Keyana's mom's side. Certainly not MY side!
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Star, the "p" in Wetumka is left out in some places and included in others. I have seen documents from the state government that have it one way in one doctor and another in the next. Even from the same committee. So it isn't just your ggma. By the time they get to be a great gma they have earned the right to have their spelling considered correct - esp on issues like the strangely spelled name of a town in Oklahoma.

    It was actually very common in the "old" days for the family bible to reflect a much earlier wedding date. Sometimes it was done to hide an "early" baby. Other times it happened taht way because the preacher and/or judge was only around every few weeks or months. So if you wanted to get married you did your own ceremony according to how it was done in your area and then when the preacher or judge came around you did it his way to ahve it done legally. It is part of the reason that common law marriages are based on. You did whatever was done in your area and then lived as man and wife. When the preacher came around (AND you could pay him) then you did it in the eyes of the church and the law.

    We have quite a few marriages with "early" babies in our family. The women seem to be very fertile - and until my generation this was NEVER discussed. In your grandparents and great grandparents' times you did NOT admit that the child was not conceived in marriage. It was NOT done.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...LOL... Oh, this one was a "shotgun wedding"... Other relatives confirmed. I think it's funny. When I lived in OK, I tried to visit Wetumka, but it wasn't close enough for me to take a day and go - and XH was, well, a horse's patoot about that stuff. Heck, I went to Sapulpa for a coworker's candle party and he thought it was "too far" from Tulsa. Same went for Broken Arrow. LOL!

    And ya know? If Gma wanted to spell it with a P? OK... Since she moved to New Mexico as an infant!
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We've been finding interesting skeletons in the family closet, secrets my mother would never have shared, that she was determined to take to the grave. But sometimes evidence will out, and she spilled enough over the years for us to begin to put pieces of the puzzle together. Not in things she said specifically, but in her attitudes to things. Also, some evidence was there in plain sight but we were led up a different garden path.

    I tried to record family members but often they would refuse to talk into a tape recorder. My mother's aunt was a wonderful person, had lived through a great deal. She never married because she was the youngest who stayed home to care for her elderly parents and blind sister. They both worked tirelessly for the church. But although aunty loved all of us, she had a special place for my uncle. My mother said it was a bit too much sometimes, and even when he was younger, he was always over the road visiting them and not home with his parents. He would come home on leave from the war and could be back for a day before his parents knew - he was visiting his aunty. Now, years after they have all died, we have put together pieces and realised - my grandmother was unable to have more than the two children she had. Both girls. She had miscarriage after miscarriage, each one worse than the last. Finally she was told it was "haemolytic disease of the newborn" and some years later it was identified as due to her being Rh negative. My mother, the eldest, was Rh positive. She had told us that her much younger brother was actually adopted, because her mother couldn't have any more children. A woman living in the same street was pregnant while her husband was away during the war (I heard several versions of this story) and her parents took the baby in and raised it as their own, all very unofficial because back then, adoptions were all clearly marked with a big red stamp "adopted" on the birth certificate. And my uncle never knew he was adopted. And they were able to keep it secret from him, my mother said. He must never know, he had even said one day, "If I were adopted, I wouldn't want to know."
    My mother would have been icily cold to anyone who had an affair with her father. She would also have been angry with her father. But she adored him, adored both her parents. Also adored her aunts. Was especially close to the youngest. Looking at all the clues - I believe uncle was the result of a surrogacy arrangement between sisters. Natural conception (which would have been challenging for my aunt especially). Before she died my mother said to someone, "He was his father's son." The secrecy would have been to protect the reputations of those involved - people would have made it into something sordid and I know these people involved would have felt the wonderful gift besmirched by public scandal and innuendo.

    Taping people is valuable. I wish I could have taped my aunt. She wrote a lot of her story down, and in her later years appeared on television, became a minor celebrity purely because she had lived so long. We have the tapes from TV shows, but they didn't show her in her best light - the interviewers were rushing her too much.

    We taped our trip to Europe, which of course meant that when father in law was telling us all about his memories of the place as a POW on the run, we were there with tape running. Now he's been dead for 15 years, hearing his voice can be eerie. But wonderful. husband put the tapes onto the computer (something I recommend you do with all video and audio) and we shared copies around.

    When difficult child 3 was interviewed last year for a TV current affairs program, they wanted early video of him. We gave them our family archived video tapes for them to extract some precious memories, but when the show came but they hadn't used the best. They sent us the tapes and their digitised copes (as well as complete copies of every bit of footage they filmed of us) and we found out why - our previous video files had degraded and were unreachable, even by the best technicians the TV network had. Very sad.

    So record your memories, but also keep those files current and in good condition. Information degrades.

  15. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    We had a similar situation with one of my mothers cousins, but back then, it just wan't talked about. This cousin was about my mothers age, born somewhere between 1915-1920. Her mother was one of my grandfathers "missing" sisters, one of the three that didn't grow up in the same household. This woman lived with her mother and three children, a boy my older brothers age, a girl about my age, and a younger girl. Supposedly she had been married years before and she and the children went by a different last name than her mother but I don't ever remember seeing him and the children didn't remember him at all. I'm not sure if he ever existed, but if he did, he had been gone for years. I remember when the youngest girl was born - I was probably five or six at the time. This was back in the fifties and I never did understand it because at the time, I didn't know anyone who didn't have both a mother and a father at home! And I remember that the mother worked in a doctors office and that the family seemed to be dirt poor! I still don't know if she was ever married but years later my mother told me about her cousin, that this doctor she worked for was really the father of all three of her children! I never did find out if the name of the supposed "husband" was really this doctors name, if she really had been married at one time and he left, or if she just made up the "husband". But apparently this doctor had a very sickly, invalid wife and he strung the cousin along all those years by promising that he would marry her when his wife finally died. Then, as luck would have it, HE had a heart attack and died! The sickly wife outlived him by several years and inherited everything he had, while the cousin was left with three children to support and no job after the doctor died! He made no provisions for the children in his will and apparently the "sickly" wife had no idea that they even existed! If this was today, lawsuits would be flying, but back then she would have rather starved than to admit that she had had three children by a man she wasn't married to! They just dealt with it and moved on.
  16. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE genealogy searching! I remember asking my grandpa (Dad's dad) about the family, and he laughed and told me they were all "horse thieves, rapists, and murderers." I could never get back any further than his grandpa, until I posted on a message board, and "met up" with a cousin who just happened to be head of the genealogy library at a state university, and he was tracing the family...I ended up with a HUGE collection of paperwork. He did an awesome job.

    My dad's mom's side wandered a lot; back and forth from Michigan to Ontario, to Nebraska, and then California. Lots of the family are still in Michigan, with some still in Nebraska. I've never met any of them, but they have a huge family reunion every two years. My great-great-grandfather was one of 15, so there's a lot of family around.

    My mom had a lot of info on her mom's family, but we still know next to nothing about her dad's family, and even her grandmother's name is in question.

    My next project is tracing the history of my house. I can get back to the early 1940's, owned by the same people, which I think is seriously cool. The house was built in 1918, though, so I still have a way to go.
  17. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    As Marg has implied I have been doing family history for years now. Ours is a Scottish Clan and I was the state representative for a few years so I held all the records being collected in this country. There's about 11000 individuals all related back to the early 1800's when the country was settled from the UK & Ireland.

    It's a treasure trove. Lately I have been collecting the data for Marg's family; even turned up a few of those skeletons.

    You have to be careful with information from and about living people. Memories are imperfect, 'scandals' are hushed up and people's own attachments have to be considered. e.g. Marg has several nieces and nephews by adoption. All are (now) aware of their adopted status but recently I offended one fo them. I was showing the family where I was up to when one of the adopted children took exception to their record showing their adopted status. They felt "part of their adopted family". The child had been adopted from a badly neglectful mother who nearly starved the kid to death through lack of care. This was resented and I was told to remove any suggestion of adoption which I have done - to the copy they see. So there's two sets of books - the true ones and the fictional ones. Just make sure it is the true ones that are passed on to later generations when the 'shame' is forgotten and the truth is more important

    I first ran into the volatility of magnetic media about 15 years ago when I was asked to retrieve some computer files from data tapes of an old computer. After a huge amount of effort we finally got a tape drive set up and programmed to read the format the tapes had been written in only to find that about a third of the data was gone forever; wiped by the random events that degrade magnetically stored information.

    We also discovered that the 'shelf life ' of magnetic tape is generally regarded as about ten years, magnetic computer disks are a bit better, 12 years. They physically break down as the magnetic coating peels off. Even optical media (CD's and DVD's, BlueRay disks) have a limited but longer shelf life. The upside is that computer information, being digital, can be rewritten to new disks and checked for accuracy quite easily. We've all seen the photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy etc that is almost unreadable after a few generations. This doesn't happen with digital data as easily and there are programs to verify the copy by comparing it with the original.

    Video and audio tape has the same physical limitations. They should be preserved by copying them to digital format and backing them up every five years or so. We didn't do this so we have lost precious memories of our kids growing up. Strangely, NOT playing them accelerated the degradation.

    Formats change too, remember the old Betamax tapes that couldn't played in a VHS. If you make a copy of your old Beta tapes before the player died, you lost your recordings. So watch for changes of format.

    Marg's Man
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Shame can take a huge toll on what is recorded. My Gpa on mom's side was adopted. It was NEVER mentioned except once my Gma let it slip that it was good he wasn't redheaded as no one was treated worse than a red headed left handed stepchild or adopted child. He wasn't a stepchild, but some of his siblings have another mother and they were treated a lot better. From what my aunt has learned, he was adopted by his birth father after the man had an affair and the woman refused to keep the child because it would ruin her. She moved away and things were not recorded. We only learned about it years after everyone but his sister was dead. My great aunt told us a lot of things that were amazing. She was a real WILD CHILD. No drugs, but some of her stories about "sparking" with this man or that one were NOT PG rated. She had a great time regaling husband and I with these stories - many my MOTHER hadn't heard. She showed me some photos taken of her in her late teens/early 20s. She was a model for a local photographer and got paid for being in ads - being a model was a very racy thing in their community and she had to work hard to talk her dad into allowing it. She didn't get married until in her 30s and she led a very adventurous life, esp in her dating life.

    NONE of that would have been told while her siblings were alive. SHe promised their father to never "shame" them by telling their kids what she had done as a young woman. She and her husband were unable to ahve kids, so it was all about not shaming her sibs' kids.