I just received a copy of my grandparents’ new memoir, Fitly Framed Together: The Life and Testimony of Bob & Louise Erekson. [Edited by Ginger Hamer. Billings, Montana: Pacer Books, 2009. 377 pages. Paperback. $24.95. Photographs, illustrations, appendices, index. ISBN 978-1-4392-2912-5.]
This book has been a long time in the making!
My grandparents have essentially devoted their retirement lives to genealogy. My grandmother still periodically sends emails to the whole family including updates on finding the mother of Greenberry Choate or the father of Margaret McFatridge. These names of ancestors are obscure to nearly everyone in the family except my grandmother, who has an encyclopedic memory of how the lines all fit together.
Despite all the effort focused on the distant past, we realized as of their 60th wedding anniversary in 2002 (which corresponded with our once-per-decade family reunion), that not a lot had been done to record my grandparents’ own personal stories. I got the ball rolling later that year when I commissioned my cousin Kristen (then newly in college) to spend a summer in Billings, Montana, recording my grandparents’ stories. She did a fantastic job, compiling a wealth of recordings, transcripts, and writings. Faced with that wealth, I promptly dropped the ball. However, my mother picked it up again and rolled it forward through many long years of effort to its finished form.
The result is impressive:
The book is primarily told in my grandparents’ voices, which my mother has edited together into a composite story.
The book is nicely illustrated.
And also reproduces documents and other relevant artifacts.
Finally, the narrative is broken up with call-out boxes that highlight particular themes.
As much fun as genealogy can be — and I do like a good Family Group Record sheet — what really brings family history alive for me is the history part. I know my grandparents thrive on the puzzle of tracking down each ancestor’s name, but I need stories to bring those names to life.
I couldn’t be happier that we now have this volume enriching our own family history, so that these names will be known by real life stories for generations and generations to come.