Monday, February 5, 2007


Pictures & History 1: Mom's Parents

    As Mom and I were looking through the photo album we found that her mother had prepared for her many years ago, we thought it would be nice for the family, and, maybe, others as well, to publish a few of the photos, here, of people who were important to my mother, as well as a few of Mom. All these pictures are decades old and show these people (including Mom) as Mom remembers them. As well, some of the pictures were already partially dilapidated at the time they were entered in the album. One, the picture to the right of my maternal grandmother, was actually a Xeroxed copy of a picture which may no longer exist. My mother speculates that the picture of my grandmother was probably her favorite. "She loved lace collars," my mother remembers. This may be why the original picture was so battered. "She probably looked at it a lot."
    I don't remember my maternal grandmother this way, but Mom does, even though she also believes that this photograph was taken either just before or just after Grandma married, at the age of 19. This is a picture of an ambitious, energetic, no nonsense woman who was the main breadwinner in the family. Her husband, my maternal grandfather, shown in the picture to the left, is the man who had the sense to find himself a woman who would let him live his life as he saw fit while she lived her life as she saw fit. Both were characters in their own right. My understanding is that occasionally, my grandfather worked for others but, mostly, the two owned and ran businesses, typically inns or food purveying businesses, the most spectacular of which was an award winning candy concern that my maternal grandmother and her sister-in-law launched during one of the periods when they lived in Iowa (to the best of my mother's recollection).
    At one time my grandfather also owned an auto repair/mechanic's shop. He especially enjoyed this business because, as my mother recalls him saying, "Those cars (most of which were Fords) don't ever break down." The picture of him has been taken from a group picture of him, one of his brothers (he was the youngest of seven children, two girls and five boys) and two friends. The only pictures we have of my grandfather when he was young were "cutting-up" pictures. In the one displayed, here, the four young men were horsing around, feet here, hands there. The shiny object above and to the left of my grandfather's head is the toe of someone's shoe. To the right of his head you can just make out the outline of someone else's shoe. We have another one in which the same four men are sitting backwards on a mule. My grandfather loved to make people laugh and was pretty good at it, even and especially when it involved himself being the butt of the joke. I don't remember him laughing much, himself, but, whenever I think of him, he is always displaying his characteristic small, secret, twinkling eyed smile. Perhaps he was aware, from a young age, that we are all the butt of The Only Joke.

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