My cousin Anita is amazing.
Born in 1939, on oxygen, but still smiling and willing to send me copies of all her family history details.
Anita is the youngest child to my grandfather’s slightly younger sister Lilian. She is the last of her immediate family still with us and until I started doing family history research, I never realized how much of a treasure she was.
Every year at the Hill family reunion, she and her family sit at the very first table by the front door. This could be due to her need for oxygen, or it could be just where they’ve always sat. As a child, I don’t believe I even gave it a second glance.
All that changed a couple years ago when I went to the family reunion and my Dad announced to everyone about my new passion. Many family members came to talk to me to give me details on their family and to make sure I had them on the tree – but everyone told me I needed to talk to Anita.
Short in stature, she told me she wasn’t really up to talking that day but if I gave her my address she would send me some things she had written down.
I had no idea what I’d get but was happy when a few months later I received a Christmas card and an envelope filled with yet more names, dates and details. Sure it isn’t as detailed with locations, but it has the names and birthdates for her siblings and for many of their spouses. She has written down all of the children they have had and in some cases grandchildren. She’s put in death information where she could, even the very sad details about one of her nieces committing suicide and her husband dying a few years later in a car accident – both leaving an 11 year old orphan behind.
She sent me a poem written by one of my other cousins and as many older people are wont to do, a story about the bible compared to a deck of cards.
Her kindness and thoughtfulness was very unexpected and yet so very welcomed. I’m currently going through it all again, trying to put all the pieces into the family tree so that another reunion won’t go by with much of her family missing.
So thank you Anita June (Jennings-Grimwood) Hardy. You sure know how to brighten this family historians day!