Friday, December 25, 2009

Roots of the Tree

In honor of Christmas, here are some photos from our family tree that have meaning for me.

This image is of my maternal grandparents and eight of their nine children, taken on April 6, 1931. The youngest sibling is in the picture too, in a way: My grandmother is 9 months pregnant. My mom is the sober faced little girl in the front row, second from left. My 91-year-old aunt, who occasionally makes an appearance in this blog, is the first girl on the left, back row. My aunt who is currently recovering from surgery is the baby on my grandfather's lap. Every one of these children is now more than 80 years old!

I love so many things about this photo. I love how serious everyone but my grandfather looks. I love how the cardboard scene behind the family doesn't quite fill the frame, so you see the wooden walls of the room and the curtains behind and the terrazzo tile floor. I love the muffin heads of the girls, whose straight-haired mother never quite managed to tame their kinky hair. My aunt who is farthest on the right was only 5 years old in this picture, but she told me later that she looked at it and said to herself, "Oh Grace, you're going to have to learn to do your own hair." And indeed, she was the aunt who, when I was growing up, could make us nieces feel resplendent when she did our hair. She had a gift. Her nickname to this day is Miss Fixit.

There's so much more in this picture for those who know the stories. But I'll stop here.

This photograph was taken at the wedding of my husband's parents on May 7, 1958. This image is particularly cherished by him because it includes not only his parents but also his four grandparents and a special uncle and aunt.

Going to help my husband cook dinner, now. We're having just a couple of people over, very low-key. Not quite the day my daughter had envisioned (she imagined not getting out of PJs all day, and not even cracking the front door). But close enough.

I hope you're having exactly the kind of day you want today. Merry Christmas.


  1. I adore these two photos and the accompanying descriptions.

    your discussion of hair reminds me of chris rock's new documentary 'good hair' - am crossing my fingers that it comes to cleveland - what I've seen of it looks informative and funny!

  2. mouse, I'm looking forward to seeing Good Hair, too. I hear it's really funny and on point. Thanks for the comment. Hope your fam is doing well.