In the midst of all of the pandemic and in my unpacking and scanning photos from the box I shipped to myself 10 years ago, my family lost one of my favorite great-aunts, Helen “Pinky” Dimick. She was married to my uncle Richard “Dick” Dimick, my grandma’s brother. She died on Saturday morning, April 18. (Click here for her obituary.)
My family was a little bit divided, geographically. My parents were divorced, and my mom moved us to Wyoming just before I started high school. Whenever we visited our Ohio family, there would be pot luck meals where family and friends came to see us and Dick and Pinky were always among the visitors. Pinky was always smiling, always interested in what we were doing, asked a lot of questions about how we were doing in school or work.
My grandma, Pinky, and their friend Wilma came to visit us in Colorado in February 2007. They seemed to have a ball entertaining (or being entertained by) my kids.
Pinky watching my son play cards.
My daughter, Pinky, my grandma, Ethan, and Wilma
Pinky was always a good friend and companion to my grandmother and I’m happy my grandma had friends and family around her after my grandpa died.
Pinky recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. She was happy, healthy, and smiling having dinner out with her family. She lived a long and happy life and I was so fortunate to have had her as part of our family. Her kindness, pleasantness, and cheerful personality will always be the thing I remember most about her.
Rest well, Pinky. Say hi to grandma, grandpa, and dad for me!
(Pinky enjoying her 92nd birthday dessert in February 2020. Photo by Sue Dimick-Dauer.)
I am a mom with two children still at home. When I began this genealogy journey my son was just 5 months old. He’s almost 13 now and my daughter is 10. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get them to be involved and not grumpy when the car takes a side trip to visit a cemetery or library. When I take a research trip to Wood County, Ohio I am usually there to visit my family and often our trips are too short. I like to combine the research with the visiting to maximize the time we have together: “Hey grandma, let’s go to the cemetery and you can tell me about your great-grandparents and their families.” Taking your family along on research expeditions can be a fun way to get them talking about your ancestors and getting them more interested in what you are doing.
I’m not above bribery. When I take my children to a cemetery I offer them a small fee (25¢ for even looking) and a prize for who finds the tombstone (50¢). It motivates them and makes it easier for me to have little energetic legs tromping around the cemetery. My son is especially good at finding the tombstones. I don’t know how many times I’ve taken him to the cemetery, given him the name we are looking for and he’s off in a flash, zig-zag across the cemetery. In no time at all I hear “found it!” sometimes even before I’ve had a chance to get started! (By the way, he is for hire.)
With the older family members it is sometimes just nice to get them out of the house and to a place they probably haven’t been in a long time. My grandma especially likes to drive around out in the country reminiscing about times gone by, who lived on which farm, who she went to school with, and the fun (and not so fun) times she had. My dad seems to like the thrill of the chase, like finding items on a scavenger hunt. If you have reluctant relatives, you might offer to buy them lunch if they come along.
Combine your research trips with visiting with relatives. Take notes (well, not if you are the one driving) or record conversations on your phone or with a digital recorder. Or have an able person in the car take notes while you’re driving. At any rate, conversation will tend to revolve around what you are looking for. Memories will be triggered when you are looking for Great-Aunt Martha’s grave. You’ll want to be sure to get those memories down on paper.
Involving your family members in your research jaunts can be very rewarding and fun. It might give you the opportunity to connect with some relatives you don’t get to see very often. Whatever you do have fun and enjoy the journey!