When my wonderful mother-in-law Joyce Taylor turned 90 this summer, Tom's sister and her daughters had a great idea for celebrating her birthday -- a neighborhood parade! We gave her a party hat and helped her into the passenger seat of my brother-in-law's red convertible (festooned with balloons). The rest of the family followed behind in crepe-papered bicycles. The neighbors in a several-block radius, having been alerted ahead of time, sat in lawn chairs with signs and balloons in their front yards and waved to Joyce as she rode by. The parade was followed by cake served al fresco. She really was queen for a day!
While cake was being served, we handed out copies of a tribute book that we created to celebrate Joyce's life. Even the neighbors sat and read excerpts from the book to each other, laughing and "ah"-ing as they enjoyed their cake. It was a great evening!
The book was not too long, about 120 pages. The main part of the narrative was from some interviews that she had given several years earlier, followed by a short section on each of her siblings and her children. The last part of the book was comprised of tributes and memories contributed by many of her friends and family members. It didn't require a lot of "from scratch" writing and was fairly simple to put together, using materials from her life that we had been gathering along the way.