Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family photo nostalgia

Back in the 70's I had a sister who worked briefly as a photographer's assistant.  I guess that's one more connection Scout has to that line of work...anyhoo, she talked her boss into taking a formal picture of all my mother's children as she had never had one photo taken of all eight of us together.  Most of us are half-brothers or sisters to each other.  So, here we are (were):
This picture was taken in 1977.  It seems odd to me that we weren't arranged by height or by group.  We ended up looking like the hodge podge of people that we really are, so in a sense, it's a very authentic photo.
Jeannette is my oldest sister.  She pierced my ears when I was 11, after I  had finally wore her down with begging.  She lived in Houston and I remember being so excited to move to Galveston from Lubbock so it wouldn't be so hard to see her and Sherry any more.  She had two children, Doug and Deanna.
Sherry is the next to the oldest.  She called in sick to work one day and rushed me up to the admissions office at UT when I received a rejection letter - I was panicked.  Thanks to her help, I got hings ironed out and was accepted.  She has two children, Raul and Jean.  She and Alene always cut up together.
Alene.  No one calls her by her real name, but me.  I think it's a shame, really, since her nickname is from an old joke of my mothers'.  I vote we stop calling her "Pete".  Her real name is so much prettier.  She has a hilarious sense of humor and makes me laugh.  She is the "baby" of group #1 and always tells me she loves me.
She is the mother of James and Christine.
Kenneth, very quiet, kept to himself.  I don't think we ever had a conversation, and I regret that.  He died almost 14 years ago.  I was one of the last people he spoke to and I carry a burden of guilt. He is the father of John and Phillip.  
And the brother to:
Margaret (Maggie).  A  smart businesswoman and sweet sister.  She used to make up bedtime stories for Melissa and I.  She has a vivid imagination that has served her well in her professional pursuits, as she is able to see the possibilities in things and bring them to life.  I think she was pregnant in this photo - she has three children: Matthew, Jason, and Amber.
I am the oldest of my group.  I was 16 in this picture.  Running behind that day, I had no time to put on makeup or fix my hair.  But I remember being glad I was seated next to Jeannette, who was the sister I  looked up to most.  My hair wasn't really red - I used to dye it, frost name it.  It was always in a a state of experimentation.
 Melissa - just a year younger than me.  This was taken probably just before she ran away from home.  I wish I had tried to persuade her to tough things out.  High school is so hard for some.  We were inseparable as children and people thought we were twins for a long time.  She was always stylish, put together, and coordinated.  Like a model!  She has Ashley and Olivia.
 Kurt, the youngest.  I don't think he was too cooperative for pics that day.  He would have been 11.  I seem to remember my mother being frustrated and irritated - but she always was, with Kurt.  He never married and probably never will.  Has no kids.  He lives life on his own terms and is really only close to Melissa.
What is it about birthdays, or other family occasions, like the holidays, that make us take these sentimental trips?  I look at this picture and see many things: possibilities, but lost chances.  Luck, and yet hard work.  Hard times, but health and happiness.  All rolled into one.  It's all in how you look at a family portrait - you see what you remember, but also what you don't.  Something to think about when we are taking our Christmas card pics tomorrow, no?


Marie said...

You have a beautiful family. It is funny how we are all so different. I look at my own family and it is like a group of strangers were thrown together lol! But in the end I love each one of them!

Marie said...

p.s. Happy Thanksgiving xo <3


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