From The Archives: Christmas Past

Like virtually all families who celebrate Christmas, we took plenty of pictures at this time of year while I was growing up. Most of them now reside in a bin I keep in a storage unit that I rented after clearing out my parents’ home. One of my resolutions for 2018 will be to catalog and organize the photos (some dating back over a century) I’ve inherited.

I retrieved that bin a couple of days ago to fish out a few pix for posting here. I found the one above in a small flip album that belonged to my father’s mother; she took it on Christmas Day 1964, when I was 10+ months old. On the back is an excellent sample of her handwriting.

This one was taken a year later, after Amy had arrived in early October. Both of these early pictures were taken in our house in La Grange, KY.

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Here are two from 1975 (I can tell the year because of the tape recorder I’m holding in the second photo). This is our living room in Walton; that throw on the chair is now over the couch in my living room.

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I know I spend just a little too much time treading through the past. As part of that, one question I’ve turned over in my head the last few years is: if I could go back and relive just one day from my youth, which would it be? I’ve come to the conclusion that it would almost certainly be some holiday that I spent at my maternal grandparents’ farmhouse. Between 73 and 82, aunts, uncles, and cousins converged there on Christmases and Easters for potluck meals (being one of the three youngest of my generation, I never quite graduated from the kids’ table), showing off new acquisitions or flying kites (depending on the season), and catching up on everyone’s lives.

A strong candidate for the day I’d choose to revisit is the Christmas this picture was taken–I think it’s 79 (edit: see below; it’s more likely 78). Someone had the excellent idea to shoot family pictures, so various units took turns sitting on the hardwood stairs. I don’t know if anyone has copies of all those portraits now or if they got split up years ago. I’m sure the picture of Mom, Dad, Amy, and me taken that day is somewhere in the collection that’s at my feet as I’m typing, but the one I came across in my search Friday night is more memorable.  It resided, framed, in my grandmother’s house for years and years afterward.  My mom, her younger sister Nancy, and her older sister Susie, all just as I remember them when I was a teenager.

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Edited to add:  My cousin Emily reminds me that the small group photos were actually taken in November 78, probably at Thanksgiving. She has the composite formed from all those pictures. The above was not part of that set, but it could well be from that Christmas.

 

 

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