Remembering the past can be an adventure

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 30, 2009

I looked forward to spending time with my Mom, Aunt Judy and cousin Tommye Lou. Now that would have been fun in itself but add old photographs and a bowl of my Mom’s chicken salad, and we were content to sit around the kitchen table all day.

I was surprised by the amount of pictures that Aunt Judy had. Most were neatly arranged in albums, but I had the most fun with the large box. It was a treasure chest of memories. Photos of my great-grandparents lay quietly beside my own childhood snapshots. A picture of my grandparents and their young children on Christmas Day was nestled between photos of their grandchildren on Santa’s lap.

We lingered over a picture of my grandmother when she was a teenager. She was wearing a swimsuit that would today be considered shorts and a tanktop, stockings rolled below her knees, shoes, and a strand of pearls. We also found photos of my Mom and aunts at a slumber party and pictures of my cousins all sporting the same haircut, courtesy of the grandmother who once wore pearls to swim. And we laughed.

The majority of the photos involved a birthday cake, food or

an Easter Egg hunt. In most of

those shots my daughter, Lauren, was standing right next to Maw Maw and staring at the cake. Few pictures were marked, which led to great discussion over the identity

of the people. We didn’t even try

to date each photo. Imagine our

surprise when we got to a picture

of a dog. On the back, neatly

labeled was: Skippy, 3-and-one-

half months, 1942. And we


Taking a break from our scan of the past, Aunt Judy told us of a children’s book that she recently saw. As she explained its contents, I immediately knew that it was “I Love You Forever,” one of my favorites. It’s a story of a mother’s unconditional love that survives the stages of a child’s life and the seasons of her own. I’ve read it many times to my own children and to my students. I found my copy and handed it to Tommye Lou to read. It seemed appropriate that we end our day of remembering the past with a reminder of love that endures from generation to generation. And we cried.

Ronny may be reached at