I was lucky enough to sit next to the grandma of the groom at a wedding this weekend...and we started talking about her family's Eastern European roots. She didn't have many specifics, in part because her grandparents disliked talking about the difficult ocean crossing in steerage (like my grandparents, who also brushed aside inquiries).
Then I asked her to think about where/when she would go if she could take one trip in a time machine.*
Suddenly her face lit up, exactly like the bride in the ceremony we'd just attended, and she said without hesitation: June 1, 1943.
That was her wedding day, and the story came pouring out! She was a wartime bride, crossing the country to join her Navy husband for a wedding and a couple of weeks of married life before he shipped out. If only I had my trusty Flip with me to capture all the details and her animated expression. We spent a delightful hour talking about this, and I also learned that her husband had seen the famous flag raising at Iwo Jima. Oh my, what a time in her family's life.
Of course I'll be doing a bit of research so the groom has more detailed info about his ancestors...and I plan to contact grandma again to learn more and thank her for sharing her special memories with me! It was an honor and a pleasure, truly.
*Personally, I'd go to the future to see who lives happily ever after, but that's not going to help anyone's genealogy research. Where/when would YOU travel to?