My Uncle Bill in Cincinnati celebrated his 90th Birthday last month with a big family party. I was blessed to meet up with cousins I hadn't seen since the 1960s, before I moved to Tennessee. What an awesome experience. I'm still riding high from that meet-up.
One of my cousins, Kenny, and I discovered our mutual interest in family history at the party, and he has started sending me old family photos. I had no idea these treasures existed. Since losing all of my parents' pictures to a brother who took off with them, I've been sad just thinking about all of those memories Mom kept in that old box in the china cabinet drawer.
Here's one of the scans Kenny sent recentlyl.
|From Left Top: Mom, cousin Terry, Aunt Vera holding Kenny|
From Left Bottom: My sister Donna, Me ("Legs") holding brother Ray, cousin Cathy, my sister Nancy.
Not sure where my sister Phyllis and cousin Linda are.
Kenny is the youngest of Uncle Norbert (my Dad's brother) and Aunt Vera, who lived upstairs from us on Sander Street.
The above photo was taken in approximately 1954. I can tell this because Ray, my little brother, sitting on my lap, was born when I was 10 years old. Ray looks to be about a year old in this picture, so I was about 11. Math and deduction abilities help a lot here.
My cousin Kenny, pictured in his mother's lap, looks to be about one year too, and he and Ray were born around the same time.
I'm amazed my memories of Sander Street are so strong, and when I look at old pictures from this era, like the one above, more memories surface. New stories are born. Here is how one developed from this photo from Kenny.
I can't figure out what house we are sitting in front of in this photo I've eliminated every house it can't be, because I remember all of them and have pictures of most. I come to the conclusion this has to be Uncle Frank's house after he married Aunt Janice, after he came home from the Korean War. I think that house was on Pulte Street in Fairmount. Yes, I would have been about 11. That works.
We had some cookouts there, at their house in Fairmount. I also remember watching the very first Mickey Mouse Club on their TV, and I think it was on a Sunday evening. A special program introducing the Mouseketeers. But that was not a cookout day.
That was a time when Uncle Frank came to Sander Street and took Mom and us kids to his house because Dad had stayed out all night. He stayed out all night Saturday, and Mom called Uncle Frank Sunday morning, when Dad still wasn't home,. I would have been at Uncle Frank's later that evening watching TV.
That is not when the above picture was taken. This must have been taken at one of Frank and Janice's cookouts.
Usually when Mom wanted to leave our father, she called Grandpa, her father, and he came and got us and took us out to his farm. But there must have been a reason she called Uncle Frank this time. I think I have figured out why.
Mom must have known that Uncle Frank would call his big brother, my Dad, and tell him his wife and kids were at his house, and maybe he would have lectured Dad, told him he needed to come home at night to his family, or they would leave, he would lose his family.
Grandpa, on the other hand, would not have called my Dad. He wouldn't have wanted us to go back home to his wayward son-in-law. He was always too happy to have us stay with him.
Did Uncle Frank do as Mom planned? I remember we didn't spend the night there, so he must have drove us back home, and Dad made his promises to do better. And things would have been fine for a little while. Until he did it again.
And I remember now being embarrassed at Uncle Frank's house that night. The Mickey Mouse Club premiered in 1955, and I was 13 years old. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable around the family I loved so much. Because I was growing up. And I was embarrassed.
And a new story is born to go with a memory.