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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in challenge (18)


    Gallery Now Open for The Past is Present Photo Challenge

    Welcome to the Past is Present Photo Challenge for World Photography Day August 19, 2011. Old photographs touch a chord with genealogists, and the response to this challenge has been tremendous. For every blogger whose post was submitted, many other bloggers wrote in comments, encouragment, and stories about their own photo efforts. This was a tough challenge demanding creativity, persistence, and an eye to detail.

    You'll see that some folks followed the Dear Photograph model, holding an old image in their hand juxtaposed against a modern day backdrop. Others used modern day photo technology to cleverly combine images into one photo. Still others created collages or presented a photo story bringing past and present together. Whatever the medium, the message is still the same: our stories belong to the present as much as they do to the past.

    Thank you to everyone who participated. Enjoy!

    Geni Webb responded to the challenge "It's not an easy thing to do but it sure was fun" and presents a back-to-school image that combines student and teacher for The "Past is Present" Photo Challenge on Ginisology. Thanks, Geni for kick-off the challenge and getting out the word.

    Randy Seaver's post for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Pick Your Past Photos for the Present Photo Challenge helped to spread the news about the Past is Present Photo Project. Randy's selected three photos... and it will be fun to see what he comes up with... one of these Saturnday nights!

    Dorene participated in GeneaMusings Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, August 6, 2011 to showcase photos of her great grandmother standing in front of her apartment building in Sandusky, Ohio. It was a tough shot to capture, and Dorene posts her photos at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay.

    Chris Staats at Staats Place was determined to participate in the project, even if he had to get creative with Photoshop. His post SNGF: Staats Not Gonna Follow [the rules again] pulls together a collage that includes the image of a hand holding one of the photos. Very ingenious.

    Karen Seeman at Ancestor Soup brought the past to the present by placing an image of herself with her grandmother and great-grandmother in a present day photo of their old house to make Memories Past... Then and Now.

    Jean of Bluegrass and Buckeye Roots featured a past family home tour for her post SGF - a little late, but looking at family houses. Although the images aren't "superimposed," she says, the pages "capture the times together" and isn't that what it's all about?

    Valerie enlisted her sister's help for a Dear Photograph style image that she calls "Looking Into the Past" for her post SNGF: Present Photo Challenge at Begin with 'Craft'. Valerie has also used the technique on an earlier post featuring photos taken in cemeteries, and shares her technique tips as well.

    Jasia took a trip to a Detroit cemetery to visit the grave of her great grandmother Ludwika. Her Dear Photograph image at Creative Gene is a poignant letter to one day in 1912, remembered "with Love from her great Granddaughter Jasia" at Genealogy Photo Challenge for World Photography Day.

    Julie Goucher at Angler's Rest features the graves of her great grandparents in Surrey in Genealogy Photo Challenge - The Past is Present, and shares an interesting note about her grandmother's death and lead-lined coffin.

    Kim Adams hadn't heard of Dear Photograph when the Photo Challenge was announced, but soon realized that she had already taken "THE perfect 'Dear Photograph' photo!" featured in One hundred seventeen years later... My answer to the Genealogy Photo Challenge at GeneaMania.

    Vickie Everhart is certainly the MacGyver of the Past is Present Challenge. After viewing her beautiful photograph at Sentimental Sunday::Meadows of Heaven be sure to see how she set up the shot at Then and Now on Be Not Forgot.

    Kristin combined photos from Google Images with pictures of her family from 1946-1950 to bring her family into 2011 for Past is Present - Springfield Massachusetts 1948 - 1950 at My Cleages and Reeds.

    Kay Bauman showcases her grandparents home in Then and Now on Relative Storyboards, and recounts her memories of a a very special place.

    Cynthia Shenette showcases two photographs of the Chopin Statue on Heritage Zen in a poignant post entitled Chopin Rising, writing about loss and hope for the future.

    and my own entry celebrates a special occasion in Montecito, California with a look through the doorway into the past for Dear Photograph: 35th Wedding Anniversary Edition at The Family Curator.

    Thank you, contributors, for meeting the challenge.





    Past is Present: You Still Have Time to Submit Your Photo

    The deadline is nearly here for the Past is Present Photo Challenge, but you still have time to send in the link to your post showing how you combined the past and present in a photograph.

    Post your photograph with descriptive caption on your blog and send the link to The Family Curator no later than 6am PST 15 Aug 2011. I will post a round-up article of contributions on or before August 19, World Photography Day.

    Many thanks to everyone who has helped get the word out about the Photo Challenge, especially Randy Seaver at GeneaMusings who suggested selecting the photo for a bit of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, and posted his own contributions.

    Get creative and have fun!

    Here's a few examples from past posts:

    Recreating the scene from an old photo-- Mom and her sister in front of their house.
    Celebratiing an anniversary DearPhotograph style 


    The Past is Present: Genealogy Photo Challenge for World Photography Day

    The Family Curator is issuing a challenge to geneabloggers, genealogists, and family historians! Celebrate genealogy and family history for World Photography Day August 19 by combining the past and present in a photograph. You might want to recreate an old photo or bring the past to the present day in DearPhotograph style.

    Post your photograph with descriptive caption on your blog and send the link to The Family Curator no later than 6am PST 15 Aug 2011. I will post a round-up article of contributions on or before August 19, World Photography Day.

    Get creative and have fun!

    Here's a few examples from past posts:

    Recreating the scene from an old photo-- Mom and her sister in front of their house.
    Celebratiing an anniversary DearPhotograph style 


    Blogging Buddies and Genealogy Resolutions, report from the West Coast Partner

    One of my favorite new holiday traditions is visiting with WeTree blogger Amy Coffin when she comes to town. This is the second season we have been able to meet and speak genealogy, and it is truly a highlight of the holiday for me.

    Our conversation drifted around upcoming conferences and the cool new Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner until we really got to the interesting stuff of research and writing. When Amy mentioned her goal of finding her 16th great-great-grandparent, it was a logical jump to put that at the top of genealogy goals for 2011. The scary thing is, while Amy was quick to think GOAL, I was merely thinking out loud.” Suddenly, we were at Goals and Objectives, and “hey, this might really get done this year!”

    It always helps to have a buddy when there is a challenge at hand, and I was glad that Amy caught the ball and tossed it back to me to name Three Genealogy Goals for 2011.

    One Research Goal

    One Organizational Goal

    One Writing Goal

    While the first goal on Amy’s list was research, mine was all about writing family history. I recently borrowed the original parchment family genealogy researched and written by my Great Aunt Mercy Kinsel MacPhee. Until September of this year I had only seen poor photocopies made in the 1960’s. The original is a beautiful volume hand-illustrated in gilt and colored inks, and the owner would like to see it faithfully reproduced and shared with all the family. It’s a big job, but I need to see it through (or be left in Amy’s dust!).

    My research goal is a continuation of one started years ago that has been drifting along without conclusion – establishing the Chamblin/Chamberlain/Chamberlin link with my maternal grandmother. With FGS slated this year for Springfield, Illinois, Chamblin territory, I want to get my research all lined up so that I can do any on-site digging that will help with this puzzle. I hope Amy is able to come to FGS so we can swap tales at theconference.

    The organization goal is a tough one. This fall I moved from a PC to a Mac and in the transfer all my photos and documents were mixed up. I want to get everything nice and tidy again AND investigate new options in genealogy database programs now that I am using a Mac. I need to get my photos moved to an external drive and get my back up plan in place. There is a lot of work to do here, but the first step is just making a plan and moving forward. Amy’s scanning schedule is inspirational; maybe I’ll work up something similar.

    Amy gives me too much credit for coming up with this challenge; it takes a buddy to make this work, and I feel pretty lucky she was there to throw out the first ball.

    So, genealogy friends, what are you doing in 2011?


    Treasure Hunt Challenge Round-Up: Just Look What We Found in Our Cupboards & Closets & Boxes!

    Official Treasure Hunters Badge by footnoteMaven

    Treasures abound from the Treasure Hunt Challenge posted at The Family Curator in mid-September. Congratulations to the brave adventurers who accepted the challenge, and then went on to follow their maps and "dig" for buried treasure.

    It has been encouraging to know that many family historians and genealogists share a common obstacle – a certain closet, box, or cupboard that just refuses to yield all its secrets. It's the one place to stash something special, but it can also be the one place forgotten when we go looking for that gem again. Thank you for joining me, hunters, and especially for sharing your treasure tales will all of us.

    Some hunters were so eager to find a treasure that they completed their quest before the ink was dry on their maps!

    Hats off to First Responder, Wendy Littrell at All My Branches Genealogy who found a box of treasures right before her very eyes – on her vanity! She tells more about her discovery and shares photographs in "X Marks the Spot." I think we must all wish we had a box like yours, Wendy.

    Coming in a close second, Midge Frazel at Granite in My Blood not only FOUND Treasure, she presents a model Archival Treasure Chest complete with supply sources, photographs, and evaluation in "Treasure Chest." I discovered a new archival resource from her post, and a reminder to preserve, preserve, preserve. Thanks, Midge.

    Tucked away on a closet shelf, footnoteMaven found an archival box with a treasure saved for "another day." We are delighted that the day is here and we can share in your discovery, fM. She introduces the treasure in a note "The Way It Was" and promises a series of articles at Shades of the Departed "relating to the Victorian custom of visiting cards." This sounds like an intriguing new series; I can hardly wait!

    At CanadaGenealogy, or 'Jane's Your Aunt', M. Diane Rogers organized and preserved the treasures on a bookshelf, and discovered a wonderful family letter she transcribes in "Genea-Blogger Treasure Hunt – Report." I love reading other people's mail, and this letter from Diane's "Aunty Grandma" is a true treasure, thank you.

    "I've Gone about as Far as I Can Go in my Treasure Hunt," declared Linda Steinstra at From Axer to Ziegler. Oh, to have only that one box! Linda shares great photos of family medals, photographs, and mementos and adds a descriptive note of provenance to each family heirloom. The last bit is something we so often overlook; thanks for the nudge, Linda.

    While many people are thinking about their stock investments these days, Julie Tarr at GenBlog is trying to figure out if her old stock certificates might still have some value – from 1914! She did the background checks for "The Stock Search Begins" and is now researching further. Now, wouldn't it be a treat, Julie, if one of those companies were still in business?

    Becky Wiseman at kinexxions teased us with a sturdy cardboard box, unopened since moving day. In "So, What was in that Box?" she cuts the tape and pulls back the flaps to reveal some true retro treasures and then, a treasure beneath a treasure. Sometimes those are the hardest things to find, so sealing the box for another day is the best thing we can do. Good questions, Becky, good thoughts.

    Concluding our Treasure Hunt Challenge, after much procrastination and angst The Family Curator finally did reopen The Magic Cupboard. Fearful that the magic was gone, she was much relieved to find that is was in fact still there, and revealed a wonderful travel photo album and accompanying travel journal complete with expenses for the trip. You can read about my surprise at "Treasure Found! A Clue to Military Service in Vacation Photographs."

    Thank you again, treasure hunters for accepting the Challenge. You deserve to proudly fly the Official Treasure Hunters Flag designed by footnoteMaven. Congratulations on your bounty!


    Treasure Found! A Clue to Military Service in Vacation Photographs


    "Boys and Wives Reunion"

    The Magic Cupboard hasn't lost it's sparkle, and once again revealed a wonderful surprise for the Treasure Hunt Challenge. Usually I find treasures from my maternal grandmother, Arline Kinsel, but this cupboard held memories from my father's side of the family. First, I came across a vacation photo album from my paternal grandparents. My school-teacher grandmother was meticulous in all things, and her photos are carefully labeled with subject, date, and place along the white border of the snapshot. It's a good reminder of an easy way to identify photos, and probably a reason to return to the old-fashioned border prints instead of the more common borderless style.


    At the back of The Magic Cupboard I found a companion treasure -- a little six-ring notebook with my grandmother's Bible Study notes and a packet of loose pages from another memo book. Those loose pages were a travel tournal for trips in 1962 and 1964, corresponding to the dates and photos in the album. Now, that's a Treasure.

    On June 8, 1964 she writes
    Left home 5:00 -- sprinkles -- fog. Victorvile at 7:00 for breakfast. Lunch under trees before Kingman at high noon. Williams 3:45. Arrived in Canyon by 4:00. Mix up in reservation. 45' tie up. Have a nice cabin. Had chicken etc. in room. Out for walk. Wind about us off path so headed for warm cabin. 551 miles.

    She also kept an expense log at the back of the packet of notes, and itemized her expenses for that first day

    Mon 6/8/64
    Breakfast Victorville $1.46
    Tip .15
    Gas- Barstow 3.91
    Gas - Needles 3.70
    Gas - Williams 4.93
    Grand Canyon 10.30
    Cards .10
    Fountain drinks .46

    From the Grand Canyon, Walter and Edna traveled through Durango, Colorado to a reunion in Eagle, Nebraska.


    As I looked at the photographs, initially I thought the men and women, "Boys and Wives," were gathered for a family reunion; fortunately, the notes identify the photo of men and women in the photo with the 314 Supply Train, Co. E, 89 Div. This must be my grandfather's WWI Army unit. Tucked behind one photo of men taken in 1964, I found a second photo of the same group taken in 1963. What unexpected clues to my grandfather's military service.


    "314 Supply Train, Co. E, 89 Div, Reunion"

    The return trip brought them through Torrington, Wyoming and Grand Junction, Colorado before arriving home in Santa Ana, California on June 25.


    Edna noted that they drove 3,950 miles spending $244.32.

    The website, Flashback 1964! highlights the tunes, the tv shows, and the trends of the year. What fun to think that as my grandparents were cruising west in their Plymouth four-door sedan they might have been listening to the Supremes croon "Baby Love" or The Beatles "A Hard Day's Night," although they were much more likely to be listening to the news or the Billy Graham radio hour. Gas was 25 cents a gallon and they could fill the tank of the Plymouth for $4.93. This year, I paid nearly $5.00 for ONE GALLON of gas. Of course, in 1964 the average yearly salary in the United States was $6,080 but those do seem like "the good old days."


    Treasure Hunters Round-Up

    Weigh anchor, mateys, we're sailin' to find buried treasure under the banner of the Show and Tell Family Treasure Challenge, courtesy of fair footnoteMaven.

    And shiver me timbers, I sure am glad to have company on this voyage to find the buried treasures in me own Magic Cupboard. It's a terrible task to take on without a tip-top crew at yer side.

    Here's a sneak peek at the treasure maps brought to the Challenge by our brave blogging buccaneers. Don't be shy about cheering them on! They will be posting about their treasures throughout the month – deadline October 20 – when we will have a Treasure Round-Up.

    Blogging Buccaneers, The Treasure Hunters

    • FootnoteMaven writes in "Treasure Hunt! A Challenge for Genea-Bloggers" that she has already found "something" in her closet of treasures, but she's not telling about it yet! It has been carefully wrapped in archival tissue and stored away to be found another day. I can hardly wait to read about this Treasure.
    • Treasures of a personal kind are in the mind of Midge Frazel in her post "Photo Challenge" at Granite in My Blood. Midge has made a comprehensive plan to organize, scan, and archive for her collection of family photographs, something that is probably at the top of a lot of To Do Lists.
    • Wendy Littrell at All My Branches writes about her plan to examine a box of property deeds and land transactions in "Searching for Buried Treasure." She is even hoping to find photos or satellite images of the property. I like her idea of "virtual" visits to our ancestors' homes; it sounds like a great addition to a family story.
    • JulieMc in "Looking for Buried Treasure" at Gen Blog has put together a very timely plan to explore a box of stock certificates from her grandmother and great grandmother; let's keep our fingers crossed that those companies are still on Wall Street for a few weeks. Wouldn't it be a real Treasure if those pieces of paper are still active?
    • The green-eyed monster peeked out when I saw the photos of Linda Stienstra's genealogy room in her post "My Treasure Chest Overfloweth" on From Axer to Ziegler. It has to be the family historian/genealogist dream-come-true. An entire room for research materials! In all those lovely shelves and drawers, Linda still has a box of "stuff" to explore; I can't wait to see what she finds and hopefully discover the secret to becoming more organized.
    • Becky Wiseman has a real mystery for this challenge. Just look at the photo on "Seeking Hidden Treasures" at kinexxions. It is a moving box, marked with her name and the every-mysterious "cards, letters, misc." How can she wait at all? It could be anything! We are looking forward to hearing all about it.
    • The Family Curator has a plan, too, in "Treasure Map to the Magic Cupboard," but mostly she just looks at the "stuff" and shakes her head. What will it take to move that mountain of paper? She wasn't even brave enough to photograph the cupboard with the doors open. Tsk, tsk.

    I hope you will join the Treasure Hunters on their voyage and cheer them on in their endeavors. Thanks one and all, for taking up the Challenge, and a special thanks to footnoteMaven for our very own "Jolly Roger" flag. Good luck hunters.


    Treasure Maps Ahoy!

    Thank you to all those bloggers who have accepted the Treasure Hunt Challenge. I'm building the blogroll of participants and will have it posted by October 2. You can still let me know you have accepted the challenge, either by emailing me a link to your blog or leaving a comment here before the stroke of midnight, tonight.


    Treasure Hunt Challenge Reminder

    It's not too late to join the Treasure Hunt Challenge. You have until Tuesday, Sept 30 to post your plan on your blog and send me a link:

    Post your Plan/Treasure Map to your blog on or before Sept 30, 2008 AND send me an email (dmlevenick via gmail dot com) with a link to your blog. Write Treasure Map in the subject line. A list of bloggers who have accepted the challenge will be posted at The Family Curator.
    Check out the original Challenge posting for more details.

    (my apologies about the missing email address; I have added it above 9/30-dml).


    Treasure Map to The Magic Cupboard

    In the spirit of all dedicated treasure hunters, and to accept the Treasure Hunt Challenge myself, I've been working up a map to find the goodies buried deep inside my Magic Cupboard. There are actually five cupboards just like the one pictured here, and each one has served as a storage space for pictures and mementos for over thirty years. It hasn't helped that furniture lives in front of the cabinets making them a bit difficult to access, but the last round of natural disasters reminded me that it would be nigh impossible to rescue the contents of all five cupboards. Clearly, some decisions need to be made, some organizing done.

    1. Destination -- #1 Cupboard (pictured here). It's the easiest to get to and probably filled with the most eclectic assortment of stuff.
    2. The Map -- I think I will find boxes of snapshots from my sons' early years and since I was fairly good about photo albums then, many of these are duplicates. I would like to sort the photos and pass them along to the boys. I am on the lookout for pictures of pets, birthday parties, and holidays to assemble specific albums. And, I really want to find a few wonderful pictures to use for an upcoming special birthday. I know I saved old newspapers (earthquakes, war, elections) too but don't have any idea why I should continue to keep them as they are just turning dry and yellow. Maybe these could just be combined in an archival box and tucked away again (sigh), or maybe I should just toss them out. Can't we access these on the internet now?
    3. Timeline -- Next weekend there is nothing on the calendar and I'm making a date with myself to start digging.
    I've been hearing of other treasure hunters assembling their tools, and can't wait to learn what they find. It's not too late to accept the challenge to clear out a box or cupboard and go treasure hunting. Read about the Treasure Hunt Challenge here and post your own map (plan) before Sept 30; then go hunting and let us know what you find.


    Treasure Hunt! A Challenge for Genea  Bloggers

    Lately I have written about The Magic Cupboard that seems to yield a treasure each time I open the door. First, I went looking for photos for my Personal Profile and out tumbled Arline's store of negatives from the early 1900's. Next I went back looking for pictures for the I Smile for the Camera Carnival and found that I couldn't find a thing. With a little encouragement from FootnoteMaven and Linda Stienstra I am proposing a Genea-Bloggers Challenge. How about a Treasure Hunt?

    Maybe with a some cheerleading from other Genea-Bloggers we can clear out the genealogy clutter from a box, closet, or cupboard and even find a treasure. So, here's the challenge.

    1. Select your destination. You probably have a genealogy Magic Cupboard in your house, too. Or maybe it's a Secret Desk, a Treasure chest, or a Box of Wonders. (Some people call them a rat's nest, Fibber McGee's Closet, or just plain "stuff".) It's the place you put those valuable photos, documents, or relics to take care of "later." The longer you live in one place, the more the magic grows.
    2. Make a plan (ie Treasure Map) to organize, preserve, document, return to rightful owners, pass on to relatives, or maybe even eliminate, keeping in mind the Sally Jacobs' archival advice that we don't have to save everything.
    3. Post your Plan/Treasure Map to your blog on or before Sept 30, 2008 AND send me an email with a link to your blog. Write Treasure Map in the subject line. A list of bloggers who have accepted the challenge will be posted at The Family Curator.
    4. Tackle that project. Post reports to your blog if you wish or ask for help if you get stuck. Let us know if you find some good tips to keep things moving or some greas archival supplies.
    5. Treasure! Post an article on your blog or share a photograph of your once-buried treasure.
    6. Send me an email with a link to your post for a final round-up of hunters. Write "Treasure" in the subject line. DEADLINE: Monday, Oct 20, 2008, midnight PDT. I will post the Treasure Hunt roundup during the week following.
    Please post any questions or comments here, or email me, dmlevenick at gmail dot com. You can also find me at Facebook. Good luck Treasure Hunters!


    Post-Games Celebration


    Have you noticed? There's no "post-party" blues dogging this celebration. The Games may be concluded (for this year) but the spirit of collegiality and inspiration is alive and even growing. It seems that every blog I read on Sunday and Monday of this week was filled with appreciation for the organizers and anecdotes of personal growth.


    No doubt it was a time-consuming undertaking for the organizers. Hats off to Miriam who hosted the Opening Ceremonies, Kathryn who was ALWAYS on Facebook keeping the Facebook Genea-Bloggers Group active, and Thomas who hosted the Closing Ceremonies; as well as footnoteMaven who designed the medals. In addition to organizing, they all answered emails, helped with a myriad of questions, and blogged, blogged, blogged.

    Congratulations to all the participants; we are already looking forward to 2010!


    Final Report for the GB Games

    What an experience! I feel "accomplished" just being part of the 1st GB Summer Games. Any talk of this as an annual event? I am sure there will be lots of kudos and comments for the organizers and all the participants. Highlights for me were: meeting new genea-bloggers on Facebook, sharing ideas, learning new tips, and getting that nudge for being a better researcher/curator. Thank you again, Thomas, Miriam, Kathryn for putting this together.

    Here are my Final Standings:

    1. Cite Your Sources - Bronze
    2. Back Up – Silver
    3. Organize -- Diamond
    4. Write – Gold
    5. Acts of Genealogical Kindness – Platinum



    Progress Report for the Genea-Bloggers Games

    I was skeptical about my participation level for the Games due to travel plans, but the categories were so varied that I have been able to “show” in each event after all. The organizers did a great job assembling a diverse selection of events all under the umbrella of the new Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook. Thanks, Thomas, Kathryn, and Miriam. I am power-working today; plan to post the final stats tomorrow morning.

    1 –Cite Your Sources! – Bronze
    Hooray! I was able to get started on this before our trip to New England and am currently at 10 Citations.

    2 – Back Up – Bronze
    This was a good thing to think about while we were on our trip. I came up with a three-way backup plan for digital files and a Master Plan for original documents. I wish I could store all the letters and photos in waterproof/fireproof cabinets, but it just isn’t feasible with the quantity of material involved. Next best, has been to transfer everything to archival storage and place in a dark, dry cupboard in the safest room in the house. I guess I miss this medal.

    3 – Organize – in progress

    4 – Write – Gold
    Too bad there wasn’t an event for Mobile Blogging. I think I managed to post just about every day of my trip, even if the family history research did take a backseat when we hit Maine and all that wonderful lobster. Also completed the Blog Summary (check it out on The Family Curator), pre-published, and wrote an ancestor bio posted.

    5 – Acts of Genealogical Kindness – Platinum
    This was lots of fun to do, especially with all of the Genea-Blogging activity on Facebook. I am meeting so many new people and reading a great mix of articles. I love this event!


    GB Games Progress

    The GB Games must be going strong, but I think I am falling behind in the medal count... Unless onsite research and mobile blogging fit in somewhere. Hmmm... Maybe, organizing? I've been careful to collect the source information I will need to document my "finds" so that should be easy when I get home.

    I'm doing this entire trip without my laptop, only a mobile phone. It's working well except for the difficulty of reading the genea blogs on a micro-screen. I will have some catch up to do.

    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

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