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My grandmother to the world may not be someone regarded who lived a “remarkable” life. But to me my grandmother is the most remarkable person I know. She raised five children while working full time and always put food on the table. The grandma I grew up with sent $2 bills in every birthday card and always had zebra cakes in the pantry. 

Six years ago my Grandma Rae’s memory began to be a problem and she was soon after diagnosed with Alzheimer's and the birthday calls became less frequent as her disease grew more progessive. When I visit on the weekends I see in her eyes she still recognizes me but can’t place the name until I remind her. We share a bond of music and sit in her room listening to Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, and Ricky Nelson and it’s here I see her eyes fill life and light as she remembers all the lyrics perfectly.

The goal of my passion project was to create something permanent that otherwise couldn’t be. If my grandmother's memory fails and in my later years my memories of her fade too, who will be there be to remember her? It’s a tragedy that we can’t choose what we forget or remember, but we can choose what to record. I wanted to learn as much about who my grandma was through the next best source beside herself. I got in touch with all of my aunts and uncles and drove around all different cities in Utah spending six hours interviewing each of them about who their mother was to them. I heard stories of her, my dad, my aunts and uncles that I had never heard before. I spent time connecting with family that I hadn’t otherwise seen in years. This project brought my family together as my aunts and uncles called each other with some having not spoken in months, even years. I’m blessed to have the memories and stories of my grandmother and even more blessed to know that for generations she'll be known. That even when she passes on it won’t be the last I see of her and while she is gone from this Earth we will have this book of stories, memories, and photographs to remember her by. 


The process of creating this started with the idea of my Grandma's favorite pastime. According to my Aunt Sharee, my grandma always had her nose in a book. I wanted to create something that she would enjoy and be able to interact with, and something that would last longer than I would. To start the book I gathered all the information and stories about my grandma and bought the materials to bind the book. I hand bound the pages with needle and string and glued the binding together with pictures of her in different stages of life attached with each story. My favorite part of the process was delivering the book to my grandma at her care home in Salt Lake City. I can't guarantee she will remember getting it but now I can guarantee that she will be remembered by her family for generations to come.

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