One of my favorite projects to date was very personal—a book of love letters from my grandmother I compiled for my mother’s birthday. My Aunt Laura had found a stack of old letters written by my grandmother, Idell, to my grandfather, Clarence Denzel. They were very young and not technically allowed to be in love (he was a missionary during the time, which was just prior to World War II.) When I learned about the letters—and that my mom didn’t know about them yet—I knew what must be done!
Isn’t the penmanship amazing? The “and”s ! Sadly, the letters my grandfather wrote back were lost—he was the romantic who kept her letters safely organized for all those years. But the project grew into a collection of visual ephemera of their courtship, marriage, and family and concluded with memories and photos from their kids and grandkids. I loved collaborating with family!
Even more though, I loved getting to know my grandparents. Its such a strange experience to realize your mom wasn’t always your mom—and even more surreal to imagine my grandmother (who ran a pretty tight ship) as a young girl giddy with love. And wasn’t my grandfather a fox in that pilot gear?
I was so excited to finally have a truly special gift to give to my Mom (her birthday is Christmas Day!) So when Oliver tried to hijack the project by arriving a few weeks early, I had no choice but to haul the laptop to labor and delivery. If we ever have a third child, I will make sure to have a project to take with me to the hospital since its become a tradition. Though I would have preferred more time to refine the book’s design, the project was a beautiful experience.
For anyone curious about self-publishing a book, I used blurb.com since it was the only one at the time that didn’t require a template, but I have heard a rumor Pinhole Press might soon allow that option! (Pretty please Pinhole?)
P.S.—For any relatives reading; I am hoping to make some time this summer for your edits so we can order everyone a second edition.