Last month, I wrote about how I created my personal history by writing the “stories of my life.” This month my topic is the life history of my parents, Rusty and Gloria Rife.

My parents died within 18 months of each other in the late 1990s. It’s been 20 years now, and I still miss them every day. After they died, I decided I wanted to make sure their grandchildren (and succeeding generations) could have a sense of the kind of the people they were. So I “wrote/compiled” a book entitled Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much, the Life History of Rusty and Gloria Rife. It contains brief histories they wrote about themselves, along with my observations, their obituaries, tributes given at their funerals, and letters written to and about them. Some of my children (their grandchildren) are old enough to have fond members of their Nanna and Papa (and their memories are universally positive!). But others of my children are too young. Certainly my parents were gone by the time they had great grandchildren. The purpose of the book about my parents is to ensure that their grandchildren—their descendants—know the goodly people who were their forebearers.

Here are some photos of the book.

The preface to the book about my parents contains the following descriptions of them and will show you why it’s important to me to preserve their memory: To know Gloria and Rusty Rife was to love them…. Gloria and Rusty were not rich; they were not famous; they did not hold high position. They were not perfect. But they were good, very good. And as they grew older, they just kept getting better (and that’s the whole idea, isn’t it?). They had a great marriage, an exemplary marriage. They were kind and respectful to one another, and they were understanding toward and kind to others. They did many good deeds. They visited the sick, comforted the widow, and loved little children. They attended weddings, funerals, and every other important event in the lives of their family members and friends. They carried with them a spirit of love, acceptance, and good humor. One always felt better in their presence. They were modern day Good Samaritans. 

Gloria and Rusty understood the difference between worldly possessions and portable things—things we can take with us when we die. Money was of little importance to them. They did not have much of it, but they were very generous with what they had. Relationships were important to them—family relationships and friendships. They excelled in the relationship business. Yes, to know them was to love them—and that’s the purpose of this book, to ensure that their descendants will somehow be able to ‘know’ them vicariously. It is also to inspire their family members who did not personally know them to follow their good example.

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