Dear Diary,

We are a family of collectors.  My mother collected bells and salt cellars.  My aunt collected carnival glass and all my cousins collect something.  For Mary, it is hands.  It is impossible to estimate how many she has in her vast collection but 5,000 wouldn't be unreasonable.  Her collection was featured on a Boston television show Chronicle recently.  I had a hard time choosing one group to record.

Every year Mary hand cuts hundreds of paper snowflakes, my extra photograph today.  They are so delicate and beautiful.  They are very hard to save so she just starts fresh each year.  I find them fascinating and marvel at her patience.

We had a wonderful time looking through old photographs and I have many to take home and scan for the family chronicle.  We spent hours reminiscing, retelling family stories.  But she gave me an amazing gift last night, an envelope of letters my father sent to her mother during the WWII!  The one he sent from the hospital in Paris at the end of the war brought tears to my eyes.  We also found a small notebook that auntie wrote in and there is a mention of the day my grandmother died and how she felt about it.  A real treasure to read.

It will take days to process all this but some will no doubt find their way into this journal.  I head home to Maine this morning and I can't wait to see Emerson and to catch up on everyone's journals.

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