During the holidays nostalgia got the best of me, and I spent some time rooting around in Mom’s mahogany chest of drawers. I found a stack of old photos and sat down to look through them, thinking back to holidays during my childhood where my brothers and sisters would visit, and inevitably, the large cookie tin that held the family photos would come out and they would sit at the dinner table pouring over them and telling stories. I sat on the sidelines and observed, never truly feeling a part of it all. It’s funny how after so many years that some memories stay crystal clear like that.
Mom, my brothers Mark (baby) and Bud, sisters Sharon and Linda in Germany.
I was a surprise baby, arriving when my parents’ marriage was ending and my mother was forty-one, ten years after my closest sibling, my brother Mark, was born. It always fascinated me to see those mostly black and white photos of my family from another time, seeming like the Cleaver family from Leave it to Beaver, though my family was very far from that. My favorite photos were always of my mother; I loved seeing her as a young woman, filled with hopes and dreams. Even in those old photos, I could see her sense of humor and her style. She was such a beautiful woman.
Mom with her best friend, Fonza. They stayed connected throughout their lives.
I found photos of us together in front of the oak trees on Westwood Lane that I hadn’t remembered, from trips home from college and holidays home from teaching in North Carolina.
…And photos of Mom later in life, showing both her dignified side and the goofy side that was always just underneath the surface.
My favorite photo of all, though, I don’t remember ever seeing before. It went right to my heart; a photo of Mom as a young woman, obviously home to visit Grandma and Grandpa after a long time away.
Run to me…
Dad was in the Army, and those tours of duty were hard for my homesick mother. The photo- I suppose taken by my father- captures such joy in the reunion between mother and daughter. Mom loved her family so much, and like me, was the baby of the family. I felt this thread of deep connection in that moment, remembering that same joy I always felt as I came home and ran into my mother’s waiting arms. There truly is no place like home, and no matter where I was or where Mom was, she was home to me.
I am so grateful to have found these hidden treasures, memories captured in celluloid.
Not too different after fifty or so years, right? 🙂