Thursday, January 6, 2011

From the Past: Where I Belong

This post from 2002 struck a chord with me today.  I guess because I've been struggling of late with who I am, where I belong.  Well this final note from the newsletter reminded me it's not always about where you ARE.

I was unusually blessed in my growing up years to be surrounded by great grandparents (I knew three of them), grandparents (both sets), a bevy of great aunts and uncles, aunts, uncles, cousins, great great aunts....My gracious!  I was surrounded by healthy, vital, OLD people all my life.  And just now as I think I'm standing on the brink of old age myself it does me good to remember that I come from good healthy stock and I'm still a bit of a spring chicken, despite the carefully covered gray hairs and the occasional aching joint.

As well, it's also a reminder that where I once stood and looked back behind me I now look ahead.  My own children, and their children stand ahead of me now.  This then, is Middle Age, in it's truest sense.  Hope you enjoy this old post.


Final Thoughts

I brought home photo albums from Grandmama's this week. Chance and
I spent a happy hour looking through them together. As we came to
the photos of mine and my brothers childhood years, I was astonished
at the resemblance we bore to other family members. A photo of my
aunt is astonishingly close in resemblance to a photo of my oldest daughter
and of my niece.  All photos were taken at about the same age.

The photo albums begin with my great grandmothers and great
grandfathers and progressed through mine and my brother's
children. They spanned more than a 110 years of family history.
There were unfamiliar faces, but Grandmama had written names and
places on the backs of many of the photos. Some photos didn't
require the name. I recognized photos of great aunts and uncles and
cousins we'd visited routinely during my childhood years.

Although many of the family members have died, their memories and
personalities linger on. In Aunt Johnnie's photo, I see the well
remembered twinkle in her eye. In Aunt Martha's grim face, I also
see the gentleness that softened her features just enough. I hear
Aunt Eula Mae's drawl and Uncle Fred's gleeful cackle, or the rasp
of Uncle Herman's voice. Grandaddy's humorous nature continues to
shine out in a photo of him leaning back in his favorite slat backed
chair, cap perched lightly on his head. Grandmama looks shyly into
the camera, a woman who is temporarily stilled in her more usual
continual motion.

In these albums, I see my own progression through childhood to
adulthood, from girl to mother. I see hellos in the photos of my
grandparents holding my babies, and I see goodbyes in the photos of
a brother, aunt, uncles, and other family members that have died. I
see the family resemblances that continues down a long line of
family, even to my grandchildren, passing from one to another,
a physical acknowledgment that this is where I came from,
this is where I belong.


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