Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Blogging: A Rich Experience...Literally!

One of the joys of blogging is, undoubtedly, the community spirit it generates. Add to that, personal development, shared creativity and serendipity, and you have a recipe for something we have all come to appreciate as being very special.

From time to time, I'll get an email out of the blue - assuming cyberspace is blue - from a complete stranger. It's usually someone responding to my open invitation to get in touch personally, rather than leave a comment, publicly. But yesterday, I was contacted, after a Google search, by Stephanie Rich. In her message she says, "Square Sunshine is a wonderful site - I came upon it by googling best grandparent sites and finding a list of them actually. Then kind of handpicked the ones I thought were interesting!" Flattery will get you everywhere, I thought. Then, Stephanie went on to tell me about a book she has written, and I have to say, I was hooked from the moment she mentioned her Grandfather. This is how she describes her wonderful project.


A Followed Path: Travels with My Grandfather, documents the summer of 2009, when Stephanie re-traced a European trip that her grandfather, Leo H. Rich (a New York native) took back in 1931. Stephanie carefully recreated more than 150 of Leo’s photographs and her results are showcased next to his original pictures throughout the book.


A Followed Path showcases the original and retaken photos side by side. It focuses on their photography, but also details what it was like for a young woman to travel through the eyes of a grandfather she never had the chance to meet. Leo's world came alive to his granddaughter as she traveled in his footsteps throughout Europe. Alongside more than 350 full colour photographs are the stories of the challenges, people and adventures Stephanie encountered while trying to find these often unlabelled locations. Through Leo's letters and photographs, and her own historical research, she describes what the Europe of Leo’s experience was like and how it has changed in 78 years.

Stephanie Rich was born in 1983, seventeen years after the death of her grandfather Leo. She grew up in Minneapolis and studied at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. After spending several years as a film sales agent in Los Angeles, Stephanie is now reading for her MBA at the University of Cambridge in England.

14 comments:

  1. What a fascinating story - it looks a beautiful book. As for you being a grandfather, it is one of the lovely strands of interest that runs through your blog. I love hearing of Speckly Woo! and the twins and they're jolly lucky to have you as their grandad.

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  2. A rich experience indeed it is....i have met more wonderful people here. Martin this is such an inspiring post...following in the path of the travels of a grandfather...what a wonderful idea! I would love to read that book....i will work on getting it in my hands soon. :-)

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  3. This is very inspiring Martin. We often seem to appreciate those gone long before us ..how often have I heard and said myself..'how I wish I'd asked more questions while they were alive'. We then spend time trying to reconstruct a life from the past. Stephanie's book sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  4. What a wonderful post, such a lovely book. The love and value she has for a grandfather she never met but now knows through his photos. Grandfathers are special ...as are the Uncle Pop's of this world.

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  5. The fact that a young person would be devoted to the memory of her grandfather, in such a creative way, is truly inspiring. This sounds like a book I would love. Thanks for the introduction, Martin!

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  6. One day speckly woo might do the same.

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  7. As Stephanie's dad, I'm proud of her book following the trip my own dad took in 1931. If any of your readers are interested it is available on Amazon.com.

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  8. Wouldn't that have been a lot of fun to do? What a great idea. It was fortunate for her to have all the old photos.

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  9. What a fine idea! Thanks for sharing it with us, Martin!

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  10. Very inspiring and a fascinating story. Thank you, Martin.

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  11. jennyfreckles - It's definitely one for my bookshelves. Yes, Speckly Woo! and the twins (Curly and Whirly) are an inspiration. They are also gorgeous.

    Carrie - Stephanie's book is available through Amazon.com. I think her idea is brilliant. Let's hope it gets the exposure it deserves.

    Joan - I agree. We need to try and record the stories and events of our grandparents, before they are lost forever. Where that isn't possible, perhaps we should keep a journal of our own, for future generations.

    Marilyn - You're so right. Grandfathers and Uncle Pops are to be treasured.

    willow - It's the least I could do. I'm so glad Stephanie got in touch.

    Friko - She might have a slightly more critical edge to any project she may undertake. Yesterday, she was instructed Mags in the correct way to cook eggs!

    Ken - So nice to get a comment from you. That was quite an adventure your father embarked on, all those years ago. You must be so proud of him and Stephanie. I look forward to having the book on my bookshelves.

    Larry - A great idea and a wonderful tribute to the grandfather she never knew. I've never heard of anything like it before.

    Vicki - The wonders of blogging. So much freely shared information among those who make up this great community.

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  12. what An Interesting & Rewarding Project! I will go Visit....

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  13. Sounds like a wonderful experience for Stephanie and her family. I can imagine the thrill of looking through the camera lens at sights my own grandfather would have looked at...wondering why this or that, or what he was thinking at the moment he took the picture. I've always wanted to walk a day in the life of quite a few of my ancestors...sounds like she got to experience that very thing.

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  14. This book will be on my Christmas list. It sounds absolutely wonderful! What an amazing journey for Stephanie, and now for us, too. What an incredibly rich world blogging can be.

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