The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Old Photographs’

My Parents’ Wedding Day

My parents were married on June 7, 1952. Mom’s sisters, Eleanor (“Sis”) and Gladys, and Dad’s niece, Connie, were in my parents’ wedding. Aunt Sis was Mom’s maid-of-honor, and Aunt Gladys was one of two bridesmaids. My cousin, Connie, was the flower girl.

Beautiful Bride

According to the wedding announcement in the local newspaper, Mom wore “a gown of white marquisette over satin with cathedral train. Lace trim around the waist was extended down the front in apron form, and matching lace around the shoulders gave an off-shoulder effect. She carried an orchid mounted on a white Bible.”

Mom was a beautiful bride.
Mom remained beautiful, both inside and outside, her entire life.

My parents on their Wedding Day

Both of my parents are deceased. Dad passed away in February 2004; Mom passed away in November 2007. If they were still alive, Mom and Dad would be celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary today. I know their marriage had its ups and downs, but Mom and Dad stuck it out. They believed that marriage was for life.

My Little Brother

I am not an only child. I have one sibling, a brother, who is younger than me. Although Jim’s photograph is undated, I believe it was taken on October 5, 1957, because I found a photograph of me that WAS DATED that date. I assume Mom would have portraits of both of us taken at the same time.

My Little Brother My Little Brother
I am 19 months old in this photograph. Jim is 3 months old.
My Little Brother
Our first portrait

This photograph is undated; I estimate that it was taken in December 1957 or January 1958. If Jim is 6 months old, I would be 22 months old in this photograph.

Although he now towers over me, Jim will always be my little brother.

My Little Brother
“To the outside world we all grow old.
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each other’s hearts.
We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time.”
-by Clara Ortega

Santa and I

Santa and I

This photograph of Santa Claus and me is undated.  Rather than just post a picture of Santa Claus and me, I decided to research the origin of the ritual of sitting on Santa Claus’s knee.

According to Wikipedia, “Santa Claus appears in the weeks before Christmas in department stores or shopping malls, or at parties. The practice of this has been credited to James Edgar, as he started doing this in 1890 in his Brockton, Massachusetts department store. He is played by an actor, usually helped by other actors (often mall employees) dressed as elves or other creatures of forklore associated with Santa. Santa’s function is either to promote the store’s image by distributing small gifts to children, or to provide a seasonal experience to children by listening to their wishlist while having them sit on his knee. Sometimes a photograph of the child and Santa are taken. Having a Santa set up to take pictures with children is a ritual that dates back at least to 1918.

The area set up for this purpose is festively decorated, usually with a large throne, and is called variously “Santa’s Grotto”, “Santa’s Workshop” or a similar term. In the United States, the most notable of these is the Santa at the flagship Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the last float, and his court takes over a large portion of one floor in the store. The Macy’s Santa Claus is often said to be the real Santa. Essayist David Sedaris is known for the satirical diary he kept while working as an elf in the Macy’s display, which he later published.

Quite often the Santa, if and when he is detected to be fake, says that he is not the real Santa and is helping him at this time of year. Most young children seem to understand this, as the real Santa would be extremely busy around Christmas. At family parties, Santa is sometimes impersonated by the male head of the household or other adult male family member.”

Sitting in Mom’s Upstairs Hallway

Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease in February 2003. Alzheimer’s is an awful disease. It destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Mom left this world to be with her Lord on November 26, 2007.

During Mom’s early stages of Alzheimer’s, it was helpful to me if I could sometimes find the humor when Mom had problems with her mind. One such occasion was on April 14, 2004. My journal entry that date reads as follows:

“Mom thinks that I sit in her upstairs hallway. She asked me how many hours I sit there and if I am allowed to talk while sitting there. I tried to explain to Mom that I am not physically sitting in her hallway, that what she sees are pictures of me [sitting on a dresser in her hallway]. I don’t think she understood what I was saying. I told her if the pictures bother her to ask Mike [my nephew] to put them away. Mom said it didn’t bother her, that she liked me sitting in her hallway.”

A few years earlier (in November 1997) I was photographed at a Glamour Shots photo studio. I LOVED feeling like a movie star, if only for a day! One of the photographs that sat on Mom’s upstairs hallway dresser was from that photo session.

That photograph is now displayed in our house. I put the photograph in a double hinged frame. The second frame holds a photograph of me when I was 19 1/2 months old. The photo frame sits in the living room on top of our CD/DVD cabinet.

 

                GlamourShot   Toddler

Every time I see my Glamor Shots photograph, it reminds me of Mom and how she thought I was physically sitting in her upstairs hall. The thought makes me smile.

First Steps

As I have mentioned in earlier blog posts, I am scanning old photographs. I came across two photographs of me, undated, but I believe they were taken when I was maybe a year old. I was learning to walk (and playing peek-a-boo, I think).

First Steps

First Steps

My First Portrait

While going through Mom’s photographs, I came across a book entitled “Log-O’-Life”. The pages in this book are meant to record an individual’s complete life history. Inside this book I found tiny pieces of note paper, on which were written dates and comments. It appears Mom was diligent in keeping a record during my first year of life. However, these notations never found their way into my “Log-O’-Life”. I will share a couple of Mom’s notations, which I found humorous. Mom wrote from my point of view. In other words when Mom wrote “I” she meant me, not herself.

I was born on Thursday February 23, 1956 at 8:47 A.M.  I weighed 6 lbs 6 1/2 oz. and was 20″ long.  Some people were disappointed.  I wasn’t very pretty.  My hair was ugly too.  Some said I had brown hair other people said it was red.  I guess it is a sandy color.  Its got that red cast alright.

A day later, Mom wrote:

Grandma and others didn’t think I was the same baby.

My appearance must have gone from “not very pretty” to pretty during my first 24 hours on this earth. 🙂

There was a notation, too, on May 17th, in which Mom wrote that I had my picture taken. Here is that picture, my very first portrait. I was almost 3 months old.

My First Portrait

54 Years Ago (Almost)

I have spent the past several days sorting, organizing and scanning (and, on occasion, rudimentary editing of) old photographs. Mom had the photographs, hundreds and hundreds of them, stored in cardboard boxes. Many of the photographs do not have dates, names or any identifying information. This activity is, and will continue to be for some time, a work in progress.

As I mentioned above, many of the photographs contain no identifying information. Imagine my exhilaration when I discovered photographs of my parents days before I was born, as well as photographs of my parents and me when I was one month old!

This photograph of my parents was taken on February 12, 1956 — 11 days before I was born.

My grandfather, my mother’s father, was killed in an automobile accident 20 days before this photograph was taken. According to the Kittanning, PA, newspaper my grandfather’s “auto hit an icy spot on a … curve, crossed the road, vaulted a guard rail fence, … and plunged over an embankment into Garretts Run”. My grandfather was on his way home at the time of the accident. It’s a wonder that Mom didn’t give birth to me the day of her father’s death!

The next two photographs were taken on March 25, 1956.

54 Years Ago (Almost)
Mother, Father and Baby Make Three

I think that I recognize the picture on the wall. If so, this photograph was taken at my maternal grandmother’s house.
54 Years Ago (Almost)
Let’s all say a collective “awe” now 🙂

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