The kindness of strangers is one of those amazing things that make the world go round. TV news features these stories, like it is a rare occurrence. I believe just the opposite. Each day there are thousands of kind acts that go unreported. I have been a recipient of many, though one stands out. This stranger who is now a dear friend, Cheri California, as we call her at our house.
Cheri is kind to many in her life. She took in her grandmother’s best friend, Margorie, who had no family, when she could no longer live alone. She turned part of her home into a private living area for Marge. Cheri told her she would take care of her and she never stopped caring for Marge even as she slipped into dementia. After Marge passed Cheri would for enter into to Marge’s private living area. Though they had shared many meals, trips and holidays together, she had respected that as adults two women each needed their own space.
When Cheri start cleaning out Marge’s private quarters she would find much evidence of the family who went before her, pictures, old receipts, books, and of history. One of those sad moments when you look at history and realize it ends here. So many people would bundle up this history and send it to the landfill or possibly an antique store. Cheri looked through all this and found 3 things that seemed like they should be returned to some family member…a journal, a bible, and a picture with a name on the back. I would the become the connection for the picture.
Cheri posted on a genealogy board info about these three items. When I “met” Cheri she had returned the journal to the family, together we would find the right family and return the bible. Cheri returned to me the picture and then later a wallet with receipts that all told the story of what happened to my great grandaunt, who married went west and family in Illinois never heard from her again. I was able to find her final resting spot, and fill in most of her story. I shared it my my great uncle who has had a passion for our family history long before I was born.
These acts may not seem major, but to those who were the recipients they were a major act of kindness. Great Grandaunt Louisa to no longer be lost to her family. The journal that told the story of immigration in the 1860’s to the US now can be retold to many more generations. A 90 year old grandmother, got to hold and read the family bible that had made its way across the US in search of silver and gold.
May the life of Cheri California be full of blessings for her simple act of kindness.