Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boxes of Slides

While growing up my Mother was the photo taker. She took pictures of everything... holidays, family trips and just every day life. I guess this is where I get my love of photography. Oddly, I never saw my father hold a camera. The only time I know of where Dad took photos is when he was stationed in Seoul, Korea in 1970 when I was a year old.

My Mom has a photo album that Dad brought home from Korea and I would look at these once in a while, so much that I think I have actually memorized all of the photos in them. I was always intrigued by the photos of the Korean wedding that my Father took (that I now can't seem to locate!) In all the photos the bride wasn't smiling. I remember asking my Father why she wasn't smiling and from what I remember he said it was bad luck. If the bride smiled then it would mean she would have a greater chance of having a daughter. I've read somewhere that if a Korean bride smiles during the ceremony it will also mean a lifetime of hardship. I'm sure there are many truths to the tradition.

While going through Mom and Dad's things I found several boxes of photo slides. Over the weekend I broke out my little scanner and ran some of them through it and found one photo of myself and my sister that I had never seen.

It's a weird feeling when you find a photo from your childhood that you have never seen before. I absolutely remember that outfit - it was one of my favorites! And look at my little sister - some things never change! This was taken in 1975 or 1976 - We lived in Lake Bluff Mobile Home Park in Oakwood, Illinois. My Father was a U.S. Navy recruiter in Danville, Illinois. I'm not sure what's happening with my hair in this photo. My Mom always kept it short, but I think I'm sporting a ponytail here.

We just moved to Oakwood about this time and ended up staying there until 1979 - just after that awful blizzard of '78 that made us prisoners of the trailer park. Complete torture! I remember one of our neighbors went into labor and they had to take her to the hospital on a snow mobile and then some kind person came door to door on their snowmobile and took grocery orders - staples only! They had to dig us out of the house because the snow was so deep that it blocked the door. When they finally plowed the roads I remember the snow was so incredibly high - higher than most of the houses - er, mobile homes! It was great for a child, but I can't imagine what it was like to deal with that as an adult. Yeah, I'm not a fan of snow.

There were only a couple of slides that were taken in the U.S. There was one of my Mom and Dad from 1979 when we went to visit Mom's Uncle Henry and Aunt Edna. When I looked at the photo I had to do a double take. Later I pointed out to Robin that I definitely take after my Mother since we both have a smaller left eye - this photo was evidence! I've always hated this trait and now I know where I get it from! Ugh!

My Mom's Uncle Henry and Aunt Edna lived in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. They weren't really her Aunt and Uncle. Her Aunt Edna was actually her God Mother. They were distant cousins - I've forgotten over the years how, exactly, they were related and there's no one left to ask so I'd have to look it up. We rarely visited our family in Massachusetts, but I remember this visit like it was yesterday.

Edna and Henry were great! I loved spending time with them, although it was a rare occasion. During this visit I remember sitting with my Mom and Edna in the kitchen and Edna was showing my Mom a photo album. I really didn't understand what we were looking at, but I knew that the photos were not from a fun time since Edna was crying. Later I learned that Edna was Polish (and also knew Pope John Paul II!) and had lost everyone in her family in Auschwitz with the exception of her brother. She just returned from a pilgrimage back to Auschwitz and was showing my Mother the photos. I guess I asked a lot of questions because soon after my Mother bought me 'The Diary of Anne Frank' to help me understand. To this day it's one of my favorite books. I've never gotten away from my obsession of learning about the Holocaust. Again, it's my Mom's fault. I only wish I had the opportunity, as an adult, to talk to Aunt Edna about her experience in Auschwitz.

Most of the other slides that I scanned were from my Dad's days in Korea. After going through them I was amazed that my Father actually had an amazing eye for photography. I really wish he had picked up the camera after he came home!

One from the wedding that I had not seen before

My Dad - He's the one on the right :)

Aren't these great? Who knew that my Dad was such the photographer! I put the whole set on my Flickr page.

I never realized I would learn more about my parent's after they passed away than I would when they were alive. I wish I could have 15 minutes with each and every friend so I could tell them to make sure they don't make the same mistakes that I did. Talk to your parents. They are not just your Mom and Dad - they are people who had lives long before you came along! Don't pass up the opportunity to get to know them! Some day it will be too late.

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