I tend not to write when I’m sad or overwhelmed, and I’ve been both recently— so I haven’t blogged, written on my book series, or even handwritten in my daily diary.

Lois, my mother-in-law went into hospice in July and died the last part of August. We had a memorial service here since she moved to our town after my father-in-law died, and then the burial out in western Kansas where the family had originally lived.

Then it fell on my shoulders to sort and disperse of my in-laws final belongings.

Lois was a very organized woman, so going through the last of her things wasn’t too bad as she mainly kept what she needed and was important after moving near us.

Opening one box led me to the Hubalek family history. Here were photos of my husband’s maternal great grandparents that came from the Czech Republic in 1874, and his fraternal grandfather that came in 1892. They settled in the western Kansas Czech community of Wilson.

Besides photos, which when flipped over were all labeled with every person featured on them, there were books and postcards in the Czech language, telling me the story of their lives in a language I couldn’t read. Little boxes of newspaper clippings and obituaries about family covered a whole century of time.

Here was the final trace of the family line in boxes on my dining room table.

What did I do with these final boxes? I saved them. Maybe this is another pioneer woman’s story I could share by my writing. Can you think of a better way to honor the ancestors that left their homeland for the future of their family?

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Comment by Linda Hubalek on November 20, 2011 at 11:30am

Wow what a wonderful idea of a memory quilt for your dad. It brought back memories for him, and created new ones for your family as you gathering the info and pictures for it. We're just in the process of moving my folks into a retirement place and going through 65+ years of memories, photos, quilts and antiques. Lots of memories to share!

Comment by Janice D Green on November 18, 2011 at 12:59pm

I love your quilt and the concepts behind it. My sister who has been quilting much longer than I spearheaded a memory quilt for my father when he turned 90. It had many pictures as well as hand-written birthday wishes on it. It turned out to be huge and had quilt blocks on front and back.

Comment by Debra Brine on September 21, 2011 at 9:59pm

We are now going through my mother-in-laws belongings. So many photos with no names, so many surprises. My husband found his lost original social security card. It had been missing since before we got together 40 years ago. His report cards from elementary school. She kept it all. Quilts and more quilts, which are the things I treasure.

You have been given a most precious gift use it wisely. Sounds like another exciting book to me. Renewed the hope that my descendants will use all the information that I have so carefully gathered to understand the price our ancestors paid to allow us to become who we are. Let the information you found speak to you. Remember it came to your hands for a reason and the right season. Wonder why she never gave it to you before?

Comment by Patty Berry on September 20, 2011 at 8:39pm
so sorry about your loss. It is not easy to deal with. That person will always be with you, cherish the moments and spend time alone to think of what that person did and said and loves...Photos are nice to have. Make something with them. a new friend, patty berry
Comment by Kathryn Suzanne on September 19, 2011 at 6:03am
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my dear mother-in-law almost 25 years ago and I still miss her. I'm sure you will do your husband's family proud as you sort through and figure out what to do with the family treasures.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could find someone to translate all of the things written in Czech?
Comment by Suzanne Montgomery on September 16, 2011 at 1:16pm

What a treasure, especially with all the photos documented.  I found several tubs of photos at my mom's with some going back to the late 1800's.  Maybe 3 out of the whole bunch were labelled.  There were marriage licenses, divorce decrees, mortgages and deeds, all for people that I have never heard of.  I would like to find out more about my family's history since I really only know anything only as far back as my great grandparents and nothing at all about their siblings.  It is a little overwhelming to know where to begin.


Comment by Becky Wallroff on September 16, 2011 at 11:15am
Hi Linda, I can appreciate your in-laws ancestry. I live in the "Bohemian Alps" northwest of Lincoln. I was even crowned the Dwight Czech Queen in the mid-1980s. I have even been to Wilson, KS for their Czech Festival. I think our Czech Ancestors could lead you into a wonderfully new pioneer story. Happy writing.

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