Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stories Never Told in Words

"Life is a journey; photography is thy shepherd." (Destin Sparks)

On my Facebook page I have certain things I do on different days of the week. Mailbag Tuesday. Shaker Wednesday. Sunday morning coming down when I give my Facebook friends a glimps of the world I see outside my window. Friday, I do my best to post smiles all day long. And Thursday is Throwback Day when I, along with many others on Facebook, post old photos. That has me looking back through old photo books and snapping pictures of pictures. The one above is from my mother's first photo album. That photo album is about the size of one of the bigger paperback books and has a wooden cover attached together with leather strips. The front cover has a piece broken off it. It's been that way ever since I can remember. 

In the album, Mom has attached the pictures to the pages with those black corners. She has photos of her dating days with Dad and also shots posed with other friends from when she was in school. It's a stroll down her memory lane. Those are memories she has lost now, but there in her photo album, they live on in the pictures and in the notes she wrote under the photos. 

This picture is my dad, years before he met Mom. He was 21 years old and had ridden his motorcycle all the way across country to Oregon to visit cousins there. Mom would have been 11 or 12 when this photo was taken since she was almost ten years younger than Dad. She didn't meet him until she was 18 and he was 28. They met when he was on a date with a friend and she was with a different fellow. She used to say that she took one look at Dad and knew he was the man she was going to marry. I don't know how long it took her to convince Dad of that, but they did start dating right away. And they did get married the day after she graduated from high school. 

"Look at the people in the very old photographs! They are gone forever but they still can give us messages with their eyes, they still can touch our hearts with their looks and they still can give us courage with their standing upright!" (Mehmet Murat ildan)

I look at Dad in this picture and I see a young man I never knew. A man willing to take off across the country with a map and a little money in his pockets in spite of his mother in tears begging him not to go. He went. He slept on the ground, shivered in the cold, sweated in the heat, and made it to Oregon. It was a highlight of his life and I wish I had asked him more questions about that journey. It was a journey off the farm and toward independence. He came back to the farm after his summer in the west, but I daresay he was never the same boy who rode away on that motorcycle. 

There are things that I can never know about how my parents were when they were young, but I can see glimpses of them in those old pictures and imagine how it might have been for them. I'm sure it is the same for my children. Stories never told in words, but only glimpsed in a face staring out of a photo.
"When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure."

Do you have treasured photos that make you remember? 

Do you wish you'd taken more time to talk about back when with your parents and grandparents before it was too late?


  1. I do. I love them. I too love imaging what my parents were like young. :)

    1. Do you think we don't tell the stories of when we were young because we wonder if that will hurt our image now, Juju, or if our kids just aren't interested? At least until it's too late the way I did with my dad. I did listen to a lot of Mom's stories before she lost them to her dementia. I would try to think up questions to ask her when I took her to doctor's appointments and we would have to spend time waiting. Great one on one times for memories.

  2. Wonderful souvenirs Ann! I shared this post with ex-RAF hubby who reminded me his Dad cycled from Wales to Worcester England with his best friend. Upon arrival he ask for a drink of water to a lovely English lass sweeping her front steps. They were married for over 60 years before both passed away. Their children, grand children and great grand children have countless memories of these two special people and share his dark looks and her blue eyes!
    God bless,

    1. I love that story, Noelle. What fun. And even more fun because I just had a friend leave a similar story on my Facebook page. Only it was in the West and her grandfather rode up to the house on a horse asking for a drink of water. Guess that's a good way to find the right woman for you.

    2. Too funny! I do not have Facebook but thanks for sharing. As it is, riding your bicycle from Wales to Worcester in 1919 was quite a feat. MIL said he caught her eye because of his (white) collar and tie whilst he said, her blue eyes and quick smile did it for him!
      God bless Dear and Happy Easter!

    3. Everybody should share their meeting and falling in love stories with their families. Or at least the good ones.


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