Being the youngest in my family I am sensitive about telling family stories accurately. Growing up it always seemed that everything happened before I was born or was old enough to remember, so everyone else in the room remembered the story better than I did. So, while I enjoy reporting facts and finds on this blog, I have for the most part avoided telling stories about my family history. I do not want to get it wrong.
I’ve realized however that I do hold some things in my head that possibly no one else still alive knows. Writing family history is in some ways an attempt at immortality for our ancestors. Even if what I remember is not entirely accurate, I can share my imperfect memories of my family and through that they might live on a little longer before fading into that obscurity to which we all will inevitably succumb.
In that spirit, I am going to share what my grandmother told me about the picture below which happens to be my favorite photograph of her. She told me this story many years ago, so my telling is in my words not hers.
My grandmother and her best friend Marie were hanging out in their neighborhood in Philadelphia. Two young men happened by. They were in a musical group and had their instruments with them. Someone had the idea that it would be fun to take a photo of my grandmom and Marie posing with the instruments. And why not wear the young mens’ hats as well? My grandmother laughed as she told me this story, saying that neither she nor Marie had any idea how to play. This story and the photo gave me a glimpse in to a happiness I did not always see in my grandmother. And looking at that smile, how could this not be my favorite photo of her?