Monday, May 17


Yesterday, Sunday, was the dedication of the memorial garden at the West Bloomfield Historical Society. It was in honor of my Aunt, Sandy Schlenker, who sadly passed away a year ago this past May 13th.

The minister from the West Bloomfield church was there and gave a wonderful dedication speech. He had also been the minster to give her memorial speech at her service which was absolutely perfect and so fitting. He really understood her place in the community and very eloquently and sincerely put into words the wonderful qualities Sandy had and shared with everyone she met.

"She has been gone and year, but to some of us it seems like only yesterday and to others it feels like forever."

She is one of the main people who fostered and nourished my love of all things history, especially genealogy. The importance of the past, of knowing where you came from and appreciating those who came before us. It has become such a huge, all - encompassing part of my life - I am constantly on the lookout for family tree information, I wonder about the old building in town or the crumbling stones in the cemetery. I think that it is a crime to forget your ancestors and that old homes should not be torn down to build another Walgreens. Every time I find another piece of the family history, I am still hungry for more. Curiosity and interest in the past - and knowing how important it is - is part of the priceless gift she gave me just be being herself and sharing with me.

Her dedication to preserving the history of the Town of West Bloomfield and Ionia and of the surrounding towns is something to be thankful for. The residents of these towns have this gift of knowing a little more about their old home, the pioneers who built the town or the veterans buried in the local cemetery.

Dedication. It is what she had. And yesterday we dedicated a small garden full of a wide variety of flowers and bulbs to her that we all picked out and planted last fall.

She was a truly wonderful human being who was taken far too soon. She had so much left to give. Even now that she is gone, and has been for a whole year now, I still cannot help but think she is still working on her research. I want to picture her getting all her genealogy questions answered - all the aggravating little bits that are impossible to figure out. That she is meeting the people she spent her life learning about. And that she is guiding the hands of those here, still looking.

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