August 26, 2010

The Family Project

Sometime ago I mentioned my good fortune in being able to rescue my Great-Grandparent's things. There were several boxes. Some are filled with pictures. Some contain deeds to property that has been parceled out and sold off, as well as property that has somehow managed to remain in the family despite hardships and uncertainties. One box, though, contained something even more precious. Letters. Stories. Postcards. Poems.

Now, most of these loose items had already been gathered and packaged together in the past. Two spiral-bound books, Penciled Points and In the Words of Arthur E. Spencer, had been distributed among the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the very same Arthur E. Spencer. These spiral-bound books, their pages protected by a thin layer of clear plastic, are treasures.

They are also very difficult to display. Their spines are too flexible, their pages too weak, to stand on their ends. Laying them down on an end table or a shelf only invites disaster. This means they're stored away, safely removed from sticky fingers or pop can condensation. It means they never get read.

I've had these two spiral-bound books for years. Maybe as many as ten or fifteen. Perhaps even longer.

I'd love to display them.

So, with the permission of as many family members as I could reach through Facebook and e-mail, I began retyping them into a more print-friendly format. I plan on republishing these bits of family lore through Lulu.

Of course, the original stories are only part of the family's story. It seems there are many in the family who would like to take pencil to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and put their own family stories into the compilation.

First things first, I need to type up the originals. Right now, I'm about halfway through In the Words of. Next is Penciled Points. After that...a quick look through the loose papers that didn't make it into the first editions. Then, only then, will I put out a call to the family for their stories.

I can't tell you how amazing this journey has been already. I can only imagine what wonders I'll continue to uncover as I retype and reorganize.