Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pieces of My Past

My favorite Aunt Gloria has once again provided me with some of the missing pieces from my family history. She got a bunch of old photos, some dating back to the 1920's, from my cousin Mary Ellen, and then sent them on to me. This photo is the "missing" one from my Dad's Confirmation Day. It shows all the brothers and sisters, along with my grandmother, in the backyard of their house in Brooklyn. I'm really glad to have this picture, as I've said, it was the one missing photo from the set taken that day. The lineup is my Uncle Roy, my Grandmother "Nana", and Aunt Mary in the rear, with my Uncle Richie, Aunt Gladys and my Dad up front. Gloria is not in the photo, and I will have to ask her why. She was either not born yet, or too young to be in the photo. I'm guessing that this photo is from 1938, a few years before her birth. Also, it appears that Nana is smoking a cigarette! I had no idea....

This is my Great Grandmother Katherine, whom everyone called "Nanny". I have never had a picture of her until now, and it I love the way she is looking with such affection at the flowers on the stoop. Until I messed around with the settings while scanning, I hadn't noticed the boy in the upper right hand portion of the photo. I think it may be my Uncle Roy, and he looks as pleased with the flowers as his grandmother does. This picture was taken in front of the family brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Her pleasure with the flowers is so evident that it is infectious, and even endearing. I never knew this woman, but she seems like someone I would loved to have known. The stories, and history, which she could impart to me are both things I will never be privy to. Her eyes hold all those secrets in this photo.

There were 24 more photos in the envelope which arrived today, and I lost no time in scanning them, placing them on disc, in zip files and on flash drives. I don't ever want to lose these pieces of my past. Without my favorite Aunt Gloria I would have never seen these photos, along with the scores of others which she has provided me over the past few years.

It's a good deal, she sends them, I scan them, and then send the originals back with a DVD of the scans. I also forward the zip drive by e-mail so that the photos can now make the rounds of the entire family. Even the ones that don't speak to one another will have access to them. And that's a good thing, because only when you assemble all the pieces of your past can you see yourself as whole. Thanks, Aunt Gloria, for helping me to see myself more fully.

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