Last week I received a voice mail message from my cousin Jim Smith. Jim told me he sent a copy of his family history book to me. I, in turn, left Jim a message about how excited I was to receive it. Jim and I share the same passion for family history. We know about this passion from other family members since Jim and I met in person only one time in 1970 when my family visited his mother in La Puente, California.
The book Zemaitis Family History by James Zemaitis Smith arrived late last week. At two inches thick and spiral bound, I quickly glanced through the pages. Jim's research is incredible. He has accumulated a tremendous amount of data and a multitude of photographs, many of which I've never seen filled with many people I recognize.
The first pages I opened were to pages 129-130.These pages became my immediate favorite because it was a recap of my great-grandfather's 85th birthday. In the past I've seen one picture of my great-grandfather and a few of my grandmother and grandfather. I never knew what great-grandfather looked like until a year ago when I found a picture of him from another cousin in Sheboygan. Now I have a second picture which includes both of my mother’s parents I so this book is a great treasure. Sometimes good things come out of the blue. The picture includes Philip Reimer, Fred Herzog and Sophie Reimer Herzog plus Sophie's sisters taken on November 24, 1939.
The group is in the front yard of the home in which my mother grew up on Superior Ave. in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Bundled in their winter coats, anyone can tell it is a cold day in November yet their eyes squint from the afternoon sunshine.
Jim included a clipping of the newspaper article from The Sheboygan Press which listed all of the guests. My mother was listed as Doris age 12. The article also mentioned “they served chicken dinner.” Apparently, eighty-five years is an age for celebration and food always dominates a German-Russian get-together.
So, I have much more to review and continue to ask my Mother when she returns in to Arizona this winter. Sometimes the best things happen when you have no clue what's coming.