July 24, 2014

My Family, Circa 1980

This is my new favorite picture:

I believe it's from around 1980. I know for sure it was taken at my grandmother's house in Tucker; that's her chair my dad's sitting in.

What I love so much about seeing these old pictures, apart from seeing myself and my brother and parents from so many years ago (Dad was only about 35 in this picture, twelve years younger than I am now!), is seeing the surroundings that at the time I took for granted but which now I look back on with great nostalgia. The built-in bookcases on the left of the picture; the stacking containers on the shelf just to the left of Dad; the skeins of yarn on the shelf in the background, just to the left of my head; the basket with more yarn on the floor, to the right of Mom; those thin, homemade books stacked on the shelf just behind Jeff, which I know contained my grandmother's poems and stories; the pole lamp with those elaborate globes; the small grandfather clock behind me; the oil lamp on the top shelf, and the pictures of Delores and Wayne beside it; the wood paneling of the room; the green linoleum floor...

I miss it all so much. The people in the pictures are most important, of course, but it all matters, every bit of it. Each skein of yarn is precious, now, more than three decades later.

May 07, 2014

Christmas Day 1973, Tucker, Georgia: For Sharon

When I think about happy times and happy places, this is a perfect distillation of what I see--not just this day, but any day when all of us cousins gathered together in that red-brick house, surrounded by our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles, with the swing set and playhouse in the back, and the apple trees to climb, and the metal storage building where Pa kept his riding lawn mower out back, and the train set in the attic, and running and laughing and arguing and yelling and eating, and sometimes TV, and not wanting to go home at the end of the day.

It was so wonderful to be young, and to have siblings and cousins to share it with, and an abundance of grown-ups who loved us.

I wish we could go back and do it all over again. I wouldn't change a thing.

* * *

Very early this morning my cousin Sharon, topmost in the picture above, left us after a year-long battle with a rare form of brain cancer.

I can't believe she's gone.

How can it have been forty years already since this picture was taken? How can it go by so quickly?

Goodbye, Sharon. I'm grateful we had so many times like the one shown above. I'm so sorry you had to leave so early.