The Past is a Present
I didn’t anticipate the many connections writing “Why Not Me” would bring me. Me and my family.
In December, I was pulling photos for a slide show for my dad’s 84th birthday. When I found one in my album of Dad, his sister Jill and another little girl, I asked Mum “Who’s that?” She replied, “That’s Alma, their cousin. If she’s still alive, I think she lives in the Channel Islands.” Into the slide show it went.
Two weeks later my book was published and I began touting it on Facebook.
A month later, I heard from Alma’s daughter, Alison, on Messenger. Years ago, I had accepted her friend request and was vaguely aware that we were somehow related.
It turned out, Alison is my second cousin and not only had she read my book, she loved it and had an auto immune disease herself. We exchanged messages and some old photos. Her mum, Alma, was 89 years old, well, and lived, like my Mum thought in the Channel Islands. Dad was thrilled to hear that I had connected with Alma’s family. He remembered fondly that, as kids, she and Jill teased him relentlessly and they would play for hours at family gatherings.
I now have photographs of my great grandma and great uncle as well as some snaps of Alma and Aunt Jill as kids. Remarkable! Alison has done work on our family tree that I had never seen. I shared the few photos I have with her and will send more when I can get them from my parents.
Writing a memoir is recording your history. The hard work of finishing the book is done. Who knew I would connect with the past even more after being published?
It’s been an unanticipated gift.