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Amy Coffin, of The We Tree Genealogy blog has presented a 52 week Genealogy challenge and I’m going to play along the best that I can.

Week One: New Year’s Memories

This is an interesting topic because we don’t really have too many memories we are making surrounding New Year’s or New Year’s Eve, in my family, except one my Grandma Willis started a long time ago. (I wish I had asked, back then, where she got it from.. maybe it was a family tradition when she was growing up, too.  I never heard her mother, my great grandma Peterson say it, but I also never spent NYE with her.) At midnight, she would tell us kids, “go open up the back door and let out the old year and then go open the front door and let in the new year.”  This was always a little special because we almost never used the front door unless there was some sort of delivery.

One time, my Aunt Donmara and I walked to a pay phone, down the street, when I was maybe ten years old, at midnight, to sing Auld Lang Syne to my Grandma Willis.  We practiced the lyrics all day long.  I had never heard the song before that day.

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Through most of my childhood, my aunt Donmara lived in Missouri.  In the early 1980′s, she moved back to San Diego.  She and I spent a lot of time together.  We were very close.  I had just graduated, from High School, when she passed away.

June 1987 was a month of great change, in my life.

I graduated High School.  My boyfriend dumped me.  My bird was found, belly-up, in the bottom of his cage.  My cat, my prop, in my Senior photos, had to be put to sleep.  I met my dad, for the first time.  And Donmara died.

If this was how my adult life was supposed to start.. it hit me all at once.

My little cousins, Tracy, Brandi, and Erin, were born back-to-back, from March 1984 to October 1985. In 18 short months, we had three sweet new babies.

I was born in between generations.  Just as I was reaching adulthood, my first cousins were being born.  My youngest first cousin, second removed (my mother’s cousin) is two years younger than I.  Ironically, I have a brother, who is younger than my eldest daughter.  Its the way my family rolls.  All mixed up. :)

After Donmara passed away, the only interaction that I had with Erin, was in photographs, as David and Erin would visit my grandparents.

When our grandmother, our family glue, passed away, we all drifted into our own worlds..  Now I live on the East Coast, and the family is spread around the country.

Now, thanks to social media.. in this case, MySpace, I can communicate with Erin, again.  It puts MySpace up there with FaceBook, in my love-hate relationship.  Out of so much, of the negative, there comes great joy, too. :)

Donmara Lee Fry was born 28 July 1954 and died 22 Jun 1987

(I knew my grandmother had made up Donmara’s name, but I just learned, recently, that it is a combination of her mother, Donna and her paternal grandmother “Marguerite’s” names.)

Father: Ralph Louis Fry Mother: Donna June Crookston

married James C Moore 13 October 1973 (widowed)

married Daniel Lawson Summers Dec 1983 (Divorced 4/12/1984)

married David Bradley

daughter: Erin Janeen Bradley born October 1985

Donmara is buried at Greenwood Memorial Cemetery, in San Diego, California.

Download Donmara’s Funeral Programs [PDF]

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