This page will highlight the special and meaningful stories behind the leaves on the Friend’s Giving Tree.

To submit your story, please email the Friends at

Giving Tree Leaf

I met my husband Michael in the Peace Corps, where I worked as a language instructor. We met in August of 2000. He was invited to my home, and decided to visit us in September. Michael and I got engaged in October and we were married on December 2, 2000. During that time, Michael's mother Joyce was going through cancer trials for her lung cancer. Michael and I got married in my country of Macedonia, without any of his family present, but many Peace Corps volunteers, my family, relatives and friends.

I arrived in Michigan on December 29, 2000 and in April of 2002, I lost my mother in law. Shortly after Joyce's passing, I was informed by my sister who had been trying to reach me in vain for several hours, that my mother Margarita was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. I believe it was May of 2002, I flew to my country a week later, and stayed with my mother and the rest of my family for a month. Since I could no longer take time from work, I returned to Michigan. My mom passed away in September 2002. I returned to Macedonia and stayed there for another month.

Upon my return to Michigan in November 2002, I grieved and accepted the claim by Michael, that he and I are officially soulmates. A year later our daughter arrived in August, and we named her Joyce Margarita. 

Thank you for offering to send you the story behind the leaf of these special women in my husband's and my life.

Emma DeCenso

Engraved gold leaf

My mom died in 2021 just a few months short of her 100th birthday. This past June I was looking for something to remember her on her birthday, and the library tree was the perfect thing to do. She learned to read before she started kindergarten and never stopped.  Even in her later years, she continued reading. She would say "the day flew fly by" whenever she had a good book. She loved to read. And I'm guessing she read more than a thousand books during her life. I know she would feel honored to be one of the leaves supporting the Friends' Giving Tree. 

Thanks very much to all the Friends of the Novi Library!
Val Kushman