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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Photographs and Memories

I love old pictures. I don't care whose family they are, just so long as they're old. I peer at them closely, over my glasses, studying the clothing, the facial expressions, the background. I imagine the family dynamics. I think how much this stern looking Victorian woman must absolutly love her children, the same way I do. I wonder if the husband loves his wife, the way The Hub loves me. I look at their clothes and wonder if they were comfortable. I just absolutely love old pictures.
I don't know if you do, too, but I thought this would be an interesting post for you while I'm gone. My best friend, Amber, is coming to visit me here in Michigan, which might not be a big deal except taht she and her husband and three children are driving from Iowa. Iowa! Can you believe that? So, of course, I can't be holed up with my laptop, pecking out blog posts.
So here are some really old pictures of my family. I just love these pictures. I hope you will too.

This is my great grandma, and that fat baby on her lap is my grandpa. He'll be 78 this year, so this picture must have been taken sometime in 1932. My grandpa was the firstborn of 10 children, and his little brother, Bob, was born just a few days after he turned a year old. I think my great grandma must have been pregnant in this picture, but I can't tell.

This scowling little boy is my grandpa again, and next to him is his brother Bob. I don't remember which baby that is. I love this picture. That expression on my grandpa's face is priceless. He is still like that today - he totally doesn't look or act like an old guy, and he tells bawdy jokes and is probably the smartest person I've ever met. My kids love him, and when he makes faces at the babies, he still looks just like this. This would have been around 1935 or '36.

Okay this is two pics because I scanned them in together, but the one I like is the one on the left. This is my grandpa in first grade. He was six. Isn't he the most precious thing you ever saw? I just want to take him home and squeeze him! You would never know that he was living in a family gripped by the Depression, that they went hungry more often than not, and moved every three months because that's as long as they could get by without paying rent.

On the right is my great uncle Jim. People call him Walkin' Jim and I think I get a lot of my personality from him. In the sixties, he lived in Janis Joplin's house. One time, he took a raft and a beagle down the Mississippi River. And another time he snuck over the border into Canada - he tried to go in legally, but they wouldn't let his dog in, so he snuck over through the woods somewhere in the Northwest. He lived, for a time, in a school bus with his common law wife, and they had a baby named Harmony, but then Uncle Jim got antsy and left. He now lives somewhere in Arizona. He doesn't have a house, but I wouldn't call him homeless. He just chooses to not live anywhere. Last time he talked to my grandpa, he said "Jack, if you ever come to Arizona, look me up. Just ask for Walkin' Jim, they'll know where to find me."
And also, my Uncle Jim did a lot of dope in the sixties.

Okay fast forward fifteen years. Here's my grandpa when he was in the Air Force, right around 1952. He was 21 in this photo and had just married my grandma. They got married and then moved to Texas, because that's where he was stationed. My grandma said she hated Texas.

Okay I put this on here because, dude, check out that tv! This is my grandma and my grandpa and my aunt, in early 1954. My grandpa looks totally thrilled to be getting his picture taken. Cheer up, Grandpa. I'm about to be born, in twenty eight years, so turn that frown upside down.

I love the clothes and stuff in the picture. This is four generations of my family - my great grandma (left) holding my aunt, then my great-great grandma, then my grandma holding my other aunt. My great-great grandma had a tatoo on her arm and divorced her husband in the twenties. She was totally cool.

I like this picture because of all the stuff in the background. These are my two aunts, Christmas 1955. Check out that doll in the background, and all the crap in my aunt's crib. That little table and chairs she's sitting at? Grandma still has it, and it's still solid and sturdy, and all of us grandkids and great-grandkids used it. We use that for the kiddy table at family gatherings.
Hey, who's that? And why is she holding a boob shaped balloon? And what's up with the bonnet? And hey, nice couch.
(It's me and my cousin, circa 1985.)


Zeemaid said...

Absolutely love the pics. Thanks for sharing. Your blog reminded me of a book I have (currently packed). I believe it's called the Victoria Photo Album and it's about a lady who finds one of those old Victorian albums and tries to solve a 100 year old murder mystery with it etc.. What reminded me was that the main character said how much she liked to pour over an old photo and figure out the family dynamics etc... like you said. Cheers.

Momma Bear said...

these are awesome thanks for sharing! My parents put all their shit in storage when my sis and I were babes and they said it caught on fire. But I believe they probably ran out of money. But what's resulted is that we have no pics of family like this, it's very sad. I never saw wedding pics of my parents or great grandparents, christmas etc. Very sad! It's so cool that you can show your kids these and I'm sure they'll appreciate as much as you someday.

The Nicholson Family said...

Those pictures are so neat! I love the crisp look in them.....