Two days before I left to Utah for spring break, I had lunch with one of my most dear and close friends here in Chicago, Sydney. I was sharing with her my desire to do the Family History Stories when she told me that her late grandpa's dealerships were sold and the signs were being taken down on Monday (one day after I got to Utah). I could hear in her voice how hard this step was for her family. I photographed the dealerships bright and early monday morning and my heart was full.
Sydney Barfuss (Willey's grand daughter):
"Some of my earliest memories include visiting my grandpa at his dealership. I remember running up the stairs of the dealership to his office where he would hand me a quarter from his Coke can coin holder. I would then rush downstairs to the service desk to buy a tootsie pop. As I got older I would spend more time with my grandpa in his office. He would give me the newest car brochures and ask me what styles, colors and accessories I would choose. He knew my love of design long before I did.
My grandpa passed away a few years ago. During the graveside service we could hear the page for a car salesmen from the Honda store. I think we all smiled through our tears as we realized why he chose that cemetery, he could still watch over his cars!
The Willey dealerships will always be a part of me. My family recently made the hard decision to sell the dealerships. Even though they will no longer carry the Willey name, those buildings and those memories will always be in my heart. Amy Jo was able to capture so many memories and so much love in her beautiful pictures. I look forward to the day that I can share these pictures with my children and tell them about their great grandpa. I will tell them how he was the best salesmen I know, with the biggest heart and best hugs. The “Willey Deal” means so much more than just a good car at a good price. The “Willey Deal” means family, hard work, honesty and love."
A while ago, I did a family history story of my late great grandmother Oleta Mundis and her home of Savannah, GA.* I was telling my friend Brittany about how much I really want to be doing these stories for other people when she told me she was headed to Virginia Beach in the next few weeks to visit her family. She told me that her Grandma Jane was getting ready to sell her beach house that they have had for years and years and what a hard decision this has been for her. It was one of those moments where the stars alined. Next thing I knew I was in Virginia Beach meeting Brittany's wonderful step mother, Bonnie (Jane's daughter) and family. I was so enchanted with Virginia Beach, their home, their neighborhood, and their stories.
This family truly is the "more the merrier" type. With a door that is always open, their homes are filled with love, positive energy, acceptance, and good food. I hope to have a home like theirs, where the love and focus is not on the furniture and decor, albeit beautiful, but on the company.
If you or anyone you know has an idea for a family history story, no matter what it is (even a car lot), shoot me an email. These projects really fill my heart. I would love to photograph any thing, any place, any one that is special to you. Lets document your family history. Now, before we are scrambling to hold on to it in the future.