A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]Maxine Ford of Brentwood, N. Y., worked for months on her Christmas gifts this year. Each present required hours of research and labor to create. But on Christmas morning, she received nothing in return but polite "Thank yous."
Ford is a genealogy fanatic, and for each member of her family this year she created a fake obituary — a brief life history, with all of the recipient's accomplishments listed. The obituaries were matted and presented in fine oak frames, but her relatives didn't seem to notice these details.
"At first I thought they were just speechless with happiness," Ford says. "But then they looked at me with these confused expressions. I've never felt more embarrassed."
Ford's brother, Harold Knox, says the gifts caught the family by surprise.
"We know her heart's in the right place, but . . . obituaries? On Christmas?"
Most disturbing was the obituary given to matriarch Florence Knox, who turned 97 in October. It included her date of death: December 30, 2005.
"Now she's convinced she's gonna die next Friday," says Harold Knox. "She asked me this morning to cancel her TV Guide subscription."
Maxine Ford is heartbroken that her hard work was so misunderstood.
"I should have followed my first instinct and just gotten them cemetery plots."