For several hours yesterday I worked on a blog post, but I just couldn’t get it to a point that I liked. I tried, really, I did. It now joins half a dozen others in an unfinished state. But since it’s a long weekend, I figure starting from scratch today with another post still counts as “regular.” Right?
Photos in the Attic
I was up in the attic today going through old family photos, looking for a collection that my oldest brother is searching for. Some day I will find them, dammit, but after an hour digging through four boxes, sweating in the heat, I gave up. Soooo frustrating because I know we have them!
Not sure how it happened exactly, but I ended up with all the family photos and albums after my parents passed away, and unfortunately they are not in any way close to what could be called an organized state…at all. I have some of the original photo albums that my mom put together when my brother, the first child, was born in 1951, along with baggies of loose photos, albums with no covers, and several of those horrible sticky albums from the 70’s that in hindsight were a really bad idea (the photos can not be separated from the albums without damage).
Way back when, in the days of buying rolls of film, you thought twice (or your parents reminded you) about wasting film. Since you paid for every photo that was developed, good or bad, you tended to keep them all (at least our family did). There are blurry photos in the albums, photos with fingers over the lens, and, if those aren’t bad enough, sometimes near duplicates of those really poor photos.
The Times Before
Of course, as I was digging I found all sorts of other cool photos, waves of memories flooding my brain, transporting me from the hot attic back in time, bouncing me from one decade to another, one family vacation/Thanksgiving/Christmas (ooh that one ended badly) and back.
Some of the photos really made me wistful, nostalgic for all those times before: before family or friends left (just out of our lives or off this plane of existence), before the fighting and divorces, before school (where you learned how mean people can be), before people changed (in a sad or bad way), before the place in which you grew up lost all its empty lots and rolling hills to houses…
Another photo I found while digging…the above photo is of my dad in the Merchant Marines. Memorial Day is to pay our respect to those who died in service, and my dad did not, but I’m betting he knew men that did. I asked my oldest brother Scot about Dad’s service, and he wrote:
Dad was in the merchant Marines and then when war broke out in the pacific he went into the Navy and was a lieutenant junior grade. His ship was a troop transport and they delivered ground troops to Iwo Jima – then they brought home what was left over after the battle. Aunt Jane told me that dad was never the same after that.
I wish I had known my dad before the war. I wish I could ask him if he had made friends while on the ship, ones that perhaps did not return home with him. I wish I could ask Aunt Jane how he was different after that, what change she saw in him.
My parents were not ones to tell stories, about themselves, their childhood, anything about their parents/siblings. All I have are the photos. After we moved to Michigan in 2001, I learned, for example, that my maternal grandfather was born in the upper peninsula of my new home state! How could I have not known that? I don’t remember now the sequence of events that led to that knowledge, but it certainly wasn’t my mother telling me. How cool is it that I moved to the state where her father, George Moore, was born?
Generally, and I think about this a lot, I wish I could ask both my parents questions, have some real conversations that I couldn’t have, or didn’t think to have, when they were alive. There are so many photos in the attic of people I don’t know, but that my parents knew, or they were my relatives! Who were they? and what were their stories?
Memories and nostalgia on Memorial Day.
In my digging I came across the photo below, one of my favorites from my childhood. My dad used this photo as evidence that he was the one that started me and my sister on a path to be dancers. I absolutely love how ecstatic my sister is. Such joy. Plus, as is true with almost all our photos when we were very little, Tina is dressed in t-shirt and pants, and I am in a pretty, frilly dress.
Sorry, Teen, I don’t know the story behind that either. I think I was the lucky recipient of some nice hand-me-downs, but If I could ask Mom, I would.