One evening a few weeks ago I received an excited phone call from my Grandson Dillon. The District's mobile library had visited his school and he had checked out two books about genealogy. He told the traveling librarian that this is what his Grandmother does. One of those books was Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs.
"Grandma," he said, calling me on the phone that evening. "I want to read something to you." He read several paragraphs he had found particularly interesting about photographs. He's been very interested in photographs and photography for quite some time now. For Christmas last year his Grandfather and I had given him a digital camera.
"Dillon, what's the author's name," I asked. "Maureen A. Taylor," he answered. I then told him I knew Maureen, which really impressed him, and that I would send her an email telling her how much he liked the book.
"It's a great book, Grandma," he answered. "I'll let you look at it." I didn't have the heart to tell him I already owned it and had read it from cover to cover.
I did email Maureen. A whole new generation, I told her, see the impact you have! She asked if I thought he would like a signed copy of the book. I told her he would love that! I emailed my daughter telling her what was coming and asking her not to spoil the surprise.
A package arrived for Dillon this week. Now when you're nine the arrival of a package addressed to you is a thrilling event in itself, but when he opened the package he went wild! Maureen had sent him the book Uncovering Your Ancestry; plus Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors (her children's introduction to genealogy),
those essential white gloves, and a magnifying glass. But best of all Maureen signed the books to Dillon and hand wrote a note to him, which he read to me over the phone (it was beautiful and full of encouragement).
The Gift of a Lifetime!
"You really do know her," he said. I had to laugh! I told him he could take it to school for "show and tell." He informed me he was too old for show and tell, instead he could call the school and schedule a lecture. His mother is doing that for him.
"Do you know she's the Photo Detective?" he asked. "I'm going to be one too!" I hope he is this excited about photographs and genealogy all his life.
That night, using Through The Eyes
, he interviewed both his parents. Using the magnifying glass he checked out several photographs asking his mother to identify the women wearing glasses. (He knows how to get to Grandma.) The white gloves? He used them when he touched the photographs, but he wouldn't allow anyone to look at Maureen's books unless they were wearing the white gloves as well.
Maureen, I can't thank you enough for the generosity of your gifts, for treating Dillon in such an adult fashion, and for being such an inspiration to me as well as to Dillon.
Maureen responded to me by saying, "I love reaching out to kids. After all, I'm doing what I do due to supportive adults. It really is all about paying forward." Yes, another generation, led by the perfect example of paying it forward. Thank you, Maureen, I could not be more grateful.
Maureen Taylor, did you know she's The Photo Detective, can be found at The Photo Detective Blog
and Family Tree Magazine's Photo Detective with Maureen Taylor
. She also has a website for children called, Family History Kids
, about making family history fun for children.
Let's all pay it forward.
I'm doing the genealogy happy dance.