Have you ever had a gift so completely unexpected fall in your lap that time stands still and you have no words to express the shock and awe? Something that threatens and promises to suck up all of your time and energy, and you can’t help but shout “thank you!” to the Universe for its well-orchestrated conspiracy to put you right where it needed you to get something magnificent done?
Isn’t that serendipity?
Could a starving man stumbling upon a banquet be more grateful than I am?
Last night the heavens opened and dropped a project through the dark night into a stagnating life. Mine.
“Betsy, have you seen what’s in these file cabinets?” my friend called to me from the office. I had the keys in my hand ready to lock up and was hurrying because I was already over half an hour late getting home.
I figured that they were full of useless and out-dated papers that we’d throw away as we made time to get better organized, freeing ourselves of the clutter that had accumulated over the years and had survived the scrutiny of several directors of the Cape Cod Family History Center.
Actually, I don’t think that those drawers had been opened in years.
Three file cabinets stuffed with file after file of original and copied photos of people and places of the area dating back over a hundred years were tucked in the corner of our office. And if it had been a living, breathing thing it would have done a happy dance as we started looking through its contents.
I get the chills every time I think about it.
I really wish we could camp out in the Center and work every day ’til we are done. But, we’ll never be done. Not really.
We will scan the pictures, organize the files as we look for the descendants of the people on the pictures who I know still live nearby. We’ll call the Historical Society and see if they’re interested in copies.
It boggles my mind that we stumbled upon this treasure that has sat right under our noses and those of our predecessors for so long!
Has anyone been wondering where some of their family photos went? How are they going to feel when they get our call telling them that we found them? Are they going to be as excited as we were? Those questions have been hounding me since last night. We can take our time contacting the owners, making sure that the work to preserve them is done before we hand them over. Someone obviously felt that they were important enough to share with the Center that they were filed away for safe keeping. We’ll honor that trust by making simple family trees that we can prepare for Family Search, as well as a free, private account with Legacy Stories that will stay private until we receive permission to make it public.
There are even hand-written and typed family stories in some of the files!
I’m so excited. So is my partner in crime! She and I will probably open up the Center every night of the week until this work is done.
We’ve been sucked in!