My recent project was to frame old photos and position them along my staircase wall. I have wanted to do this for a while but it’s a chore. I don’t have great photos of my parents and grandparents. I don’t even have many photos of me as a child. The ones I have are all the wrong size. Who ever heard of photos that are 1-1/2 inches square? These were the days before inexpensive cameras and color film…and standardization.
There is something so special about going through old photos. Most of them were taken between 1920 and 1955. It’s almost as if I was reliving the times. I saw flapper outfits and old-time hairdo’s. There were automobiles and furniture that were from the beginning of the century. It was very cool.
I got nostalgic looking at the very few pictures I have of my father. I forgot how handsome he was. I surprised myself at how much I still miss him. He has been gone over 50 years.
There were pictures of my mother as a child with her many siblings. She was so pretty. People are laughing and singing and hugging. Really having a great time.
The beloved husband pulled out his old family pictures and we were hard pressed to come up with good photos of any grandparents. What we have are black and white and blurred but they will do.
There is a picture of a picnic with all sorts of relatives sitting around the grass. I wasn’t born yet so it was probably just after World War II. People are having a good time. I can see my aunts and uncles and older cousins. I wish I was there.
What strikes me most is how young and full of hope everyone is. I remember most of them as older people, not as twenty-something’s partying. They were beautiful and carefree. Almost all of them are gone now.
I wonder if someone would say that about me. Aging is a harsh process. The worries and troubles are etched in your skin and in your psyche. They erode your naivety. You lose some of your easy trust and become more jaded with life. What you have left is resilience. Survivorship. Not a bad thing but not the same as the promise of youth I see in these pictures.
Just on a whim, I looked up data on my grandparents and was able to find information I didn’t know. They emigrated here in 1899. They look like something out of American Gothic. How hard it must have been for them. Maybe this photo project will encourage me to start down another project tracking our family history.
Three wishes — I wish I could go back for an afternoon to spend time really listening to my long-gone relatives. I wish I would have been more attentive when they were around. I wish I would have told them all how much I loved them.