Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day...

When I was growing up, Memorial Day in our town was a little like a scene from Lake Wobegon -- marching bands, decorated veterans, Gold Star Mothers. But it was a day for more personal memorials too -- people made a point of taking flowers to the cemetery to honor loved ones who were no longer with us.

First Sunday Walk to Newton, October 1910

Although the details of my grandmother's life surrounded me, I never had the pleasure of knowing her. My grandfather Fred, on the other hand, was my favorite companion and best friend when I was a small child. He made up silly games, taught me the names of colors, showed me how to make simple drawings, comforted me when I was hurt, and provided unconditional love.

Fred with his sister and a friend

I recently discovered pictures of him as a young man in a photo album that had been created by one of his sisters between 1910 and 1914. His playful, kind nature shines out through these old photos and reminds me of what a special person he was.

At Camp Peanut, August 1910

A word about the photos: Each year, the family chose a different lighthearted name for their week together at a local resort. "Camp Peanut" was the name they chose in 1910. "Sunday Walk" chronicles the first walk to visit relatives who lived about 7 miles outside of town. My grandfather was in his mid-20s in these pictures.

16 comments:

  1. LOVE those hats.Have you ever painted them?
    With or without the ladies?

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  2. What wonderful photos and memories!!

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  3. Hi Margery! There are even more amazing hats in the album -- these were just their everyday hats!!

    Thanks, Rhonda!! Glad you enjoyed them!!

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  4. What fantastic photographs. So clear, sharp and detailed. I wish I had some of my grandparents. What a treasure.

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  5. What a classy group. Such a wonderful heritage you have, especially with your special, encouraging grandpa.

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  6. Hi Sheila!! My mom had this album tucked away for years. I knew about it, but never went through it until recently. It's really a wonderful peek into the family's life.

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  7. Hi Sandy! This album has been quite a surprise as well as a treat. It really gave me a much more complete impression of my grandfather as well as of his family circumstances.

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  8. Chris, Amazing photos of your very handsome family. What a treasure!

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  9. What a fantastic post, Chris! Loved seeing these photos. Funny, I spent most of today remembering my Dad, who passed away in '04, and looking through piles of similar family shots of my grandparents.
    Your grandfather was a handsome guy! Looks like a fun-loving bunch!

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  10. Thanks, R. and Liz!1 My memories of my grandfather were of a much older man, so it was a delight to find all the photos of him as a young man. I was quite surprised to discover that he was quite a dandy in his youth!!

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  11. Hello Chris
    Loved your discription of Memorial Day in your town when you were growing up. Were we neighbors ? I especially remember my mother buying geraniums for the cemetry. I can't plant geraniums without thinking of those days.
    Make prints of the photos and have them out so you can see them more often. :)

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  12. Hi Janet! Thanks for leaving a comment! You piqued my curiosity, so I cruised through your blog to see if indeed we had been neighbors. Only insofar as we probably both grew up in small to middling towns I guess. For a while, I thought you might have been from Iowa (because of the corn paintings!!) and then we would have been almost neighbors. Funny you should mention geraniums though -- my mom just told me my cousins planted new geraniums on all the family graves last week.

    I have the whole album on the computer now, thanks to my husband's patient efforts, and also use them as my screen saver. The original photos are very small, so having them on the screen allows much better viewing.

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  13. What fine photos, and how lucky you are to have them in such good shape! Thanks for sharing your family!

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  14. Thanks, Elizabeth! This album is truly a gem. I'm glad you liked the post.

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  15. A lovely post Chris. As everyone else said, the photos are wonderful. Especially love the one with the walking stick. Such simple days compared to now!

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