Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words



This is a family photograph of my Dad's side of the family (sans all the teenagers except tall T.). I came across it while frantically going through several boxes of precious stuff looking for my marriage license.

I sat back on my heels and studied the picture for a long time.

It is my Grandmother's, whom we all called Nana.....it is Nana's 80th birthday party. It is 1971 I believe. Nana does not look too good. I think she had been on a hunger strike because earlier (maybe in 1970)she had been diagnosed with TB and whisked off to hospital hell in another county. She was separated from her beloved pip of a dog, Pogo, and it nearly killed both of them. Both took to not eating. Pogo recovered. Nana did not.

My Auntie M is standing to our right of Nana. Auntie M is almost a pure albino. Almost, her eyes are blue. When Mom and Pop got married, Grandma (Mom's Mom) was thoroughly against the marriage because she feared the gene would cause us children to be albino.

Wrong.

My Mom is behind Nana and Dad is next to her. I grin from ear to ear when I see her high forehead and razor sharp cheek bones. See the sassy looking Coleen in the front row smiling smugly with the golden pigtails, my sister Kit, she looks just like Mom now. Ha!! Sort of, high forehead and cheekbones.

My Dad and his brother stand side by side, both looking dapper. My uncle is a MD, my Auntie M is a PhD, and my Dad holds a masters in analytical chemistry. Kudos to Nana who raised the kids on her own after her husband abandoned them in NYC during the 1920's.

Next to Uncle Richard is Aunt Virgina. Look at that daring neckline on Aunt V!! Next to V. is her youngest daughter M.

Then my two sisters, dressed like twins. My mother always made their clothes and dressed them alike. Much to their chagrin. Omega, the youngest with the "let's get this over with fast, there is cake and punch right behind me!!" look on her face...well she is just too adorable.

Then Mr. Independent, my bro P., with the red shirt and braces. He was incorrigible in so many ways. When he was about three or four one of Mom's friends called. This friend lived at the intersection where our small catholic grammar school was located, about 3/4 of mile away from our home.

"Hello Theresa, where is P.?"

"He's outside playing."

"Well, Theresa, I have to tell you he is outside on the sidewalk on his tricycle making his way to the school."

At other times the phone would ring in the middle of the night, "Theresa, do you know where P is?"

"He is upstairs in his bedroom."

"No he is not! He has climbed down the tv antenna and rode down the street on his bicycle.'

He was a devil.

The tall drink of water is my Brother T who is now in NYC. He is the only teenager who attended the shindig. He always was a good son. Next to him is the devil incarnate, my cousin B. You can tell by that smirk on his face that he is hell and vinegar.

I'm missing and my cousin M. (Nana's namesake is missing) is with me. I had just gotten my drivers license and I'm certain we were driving around town or I was working at the swimming pool as a lifeguard.

I am disappointed with my teenage self to not have attended the party.

There are other missing also. My bro N, and four other cousins.

I have been studying this picture for clues. But there is no mystery there. There is love flowing out of the group, even though it looks like uncle R is talking and my Dad is agreeing with something.......

My Dad. How I miss being able to talk to him without shouting (he has lost most his hearing) and talking about the most inane subjects.("How are you feeling? Would you like to watch a John Wayne movie? This is your granddaughter Bridget).

This is how he appears to me when I have dreams about him.

6 comments:

ab said...

Gosh...so many definable moments in one snapshot of time, so many stories. I love seeing photos like this and reading what it means to someone, their memories. Thanks for sharing.

emmapeelDallas said...

I agree with ab, I love seeing pics like this (so similar in many ways to my family!) and reading the stories behind the pics is even better. Nice post.

Blue said...

Finding old family pictures is strange, I'm still trying to sort out my late mothers memories & she only kept the most criptic of clues to her past..

Gannet Girl said...

Terrific post. I have a couple of these big extended family pix; I wonder if I could get them to scan.

meno said...

I kept reading the description and then scrolling back up to see the person being described. I love old pictures.

You have a lot of siblings, at least to me.

trying2hide said...

Terrific post.
I remember going thru my grandmother's trunk of pictures upon her death and my sister and I asking my mom, "Who are these dark people?!" For we are as pale as sheets! My mum answered,so calm, "Oh those are your grandma's family." Good Lord they were all American Indians. Like the real kind! No shoes! jet black hair. amazing. Pictures. Amazing. Thanks for bringing back that neat memory.