The importance of a family photo

In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 23, my big brother passed away and I miss him very much. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, which I hope you will understand at the end.

He was seven and a half years older than me. but we spent a lot of time together and had many very, very long conversations on the phone at least once a week. He had a memory that always amazed me, we didn’t always talk about our daily routines, we talked about everything, current events (local and national), our kids, grandkids, family members (present and past), our lives growing up and what’s to come in the future.

He shared many stories and memories with me about his childhood, that included my two older sisters, and living on the farm on Chambersburg Road, which was just down the road from our grandparents. I never knew my grandfather nor did I live on the farm, so I enjoyed hearing all about it. We talked about the schools, homes, families, businesses and anything that came to mind. I was always asking him questions about things and places in the community and most of the time he had an answer for me. There were times that someone would ask me about a place, event or family, that I really wasn’t sure of the answer and I’d call my big brother and most of the time he could give me an answer.

When he became ill in March of this year, I was sure he would pull through or I would have more time with him. But, that wasn’t meant to be and he left us much sooner than anyone expected. He had donated his body to Wright State University which meant we would have a memorial service. My niece and I were putting together some pictures for the memorial, those who know me very well, know I love to take pictures, but going through all the family photos, nowhere could I find a picture of both our parents with the five of us kids. He was the first of five children born to our parents and I’m sure they just never thought about it, or didn’t have the opportunity to get a picture of all of us. The youngest of the five of us was another boy, since there were 15 years between my big brother and my little brother it didn’t seem that strange that they both would not be in a picture, but not finding a photo of all seven family members together, has really bothered me.

The reason I feel I must share this with you is two-fold. First, if you haven’t had a family photo for a while, do it now! It may seem silly, but that’s one thing that has really bothered me. I grew up in an awesome family and had a great childhood, I really feel something is missing not to have a family photo.

My other reason for sharing this story, I not only lost my brother and friend, I lost some history. I had so many more questions and I know he had a lot more stories. To me, I not only lost my brother and friend, I lost a local history resource. A couple years ago a member of our community passed away who was born in the former Tall Timbers, he was a photographer and knew so much history. He was also our youth leader at church for many years and very active. Again, when he passed so much knowledge of our history went with him.

If you have any stories, memories, photos, documents, anything that tells just a little interesting fact about the community we live in, please share! Little stories like grandpa chipping stones that were used to pave the gravel roads, gives us a little bit of history.

Did any of you know that Chambersburg Road was originally a dirt road, then a gravel and now paved? I kept saying “I need to have a sit–down with him, my big brother, and pick his brain.” I never took the time or opportunity, I always thought there would be tomorrow, but tomorrow didn’t come and I’ll never get to ask all those questions I had for him and I truly regret that. I’m not just saying this for me, but things that I could have passed along about the history in our family and the community.

I hope you will take time and ask questions and listen to those old stories and tales that our elders tend to tell, they’re not just stories, they’re history and it’s important that we keep that. If you have photos, documents, memorabilia or good stories that you would like to share, not only with family, but for future references, please contact me at or give me a call at 937-974-5286. We can scan most photos or documents, if you wish to share and keep the original.

Rest in peace my dear brother, and keep telling those stories to those who pass along.

Looking to our future while preserving our past

Reach Pat Stephens at or call 937-974-5286.
Reach Pat Stephens at or call 937-974-5286.