Monday, June 16, 2008
Pictures I Will Never See Again
My mother was the keeper of the photographs. She loved her big old Brownie box camera, and took hundreds of pictures with it. She had some in an album. Most were just thrown into a big box. I loved to go through that box every chance I got.
When Mother passed on, my sister became custodian of the pictures. That was fine. And during that time, I did some darkroom work, and copied quite a few of them. When she passed, her daughter took over everything she had. My niece is an unhappy woman who seems to feel a need to possess everything she can. Even if she doesn't really want it - it is hers, and no one else must have it. After my sister's funeral, we went back to my niece's house. She had the album and picture box there, and we spent a long time reminiscing over them. I put aside quite a few that I really wanted, and told her that I would have them copied and return the originals. She would not allow that. She insisted that she would have them copied herself. Somehow I knew this would not happen. I had my Pentax with me, and actually photographed a dozen or so. She kept saying that wasn't necessary. That was the last time I ever saw the pictures.
But no matter. They are engraved in my memory. Unfortunately, I can't show them to my children and grandchildren.
Most were taken out-of-doors. Flash bulbs weren't around back then. There are a few pictures of my mother as a child. A couple were taken in the Pocono Mountains, where her mother took her "for the air" after a bout with scarlet fever. There are several of my father's family - Grandmother sitting on the front steps, surrounded by her nine children. One really cute one of my father and one of his brothers taken at South Cape Meadows. Way in the distance you can make out Cape May Lighthouse. They spent summer vacation here even then.
There are some of Mother and Daddy and some of their friends, before they were married - long skirts and big hats. The men wore those flat straw hats. All taking silly poses, as young people do. There are beautiful pictures of my sister and brother taken before I was born. Then there are pictures of my own life - as an infant in a big wicker carriage - with the family cat. My kindergarten picture. I can see every child in that class. There are many pictures of Jack, of course, and the DeVries kids from across the street, and other neighborhood friends. Birthday parties - my own and friends'. My mother's garden, and the house, always in the background. Our front porch. Oh yes, and my swing. Why it was hung in the doorway of the garage, I can't tell you. If you fell off on the back-swing, you landed on the cement floor. If you went flying off on the forward-swing, you hit the cinder driveway. But I didn't fall off very often.
There are pictures of us sitting on the beach in Ocean City, and of the rooming house where we stayed, and the boardwalk.
I have only one picture of Bill, my brother, in uniform in World WarII, but I remember others of him, in basic training, holding up a 7' snake he found in his sleeping bag with him when he woke up one morning; pictures of him overseas, with an English nurse; one of children in Belgium, sitting on a jeep. Then, when he came home, his wedding day. Mother and I wore the most terrible dresses to that wedding. Big shoulder pads were in at the time. Then pictures of his two daughters. My sister and her dear husband, and their daughter.
Well, it seems I don't really need to have those pictures after all. I remember them all so clearly, and they will always be with me, won't they? And the Lord knows, I've filled enough albums of my own that my children will not know what to do with them all when I've gone. I keep them in my computer, too. That seems to be what my kids do. I hope they print enough to pass on to their own families though. There's nothing like holding them in your hands and reminiscing.