Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cousin Ruth's Album

A few weeks ago a long time dream of mine came true in more ways than one.

I was in Chicago for a conference. While there, I took an extra day and went exploring Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin where my ancestors lived for generations. One of my Dad's cousins, Ruth, lives in the area so I arranged to visit her and asked her to share any information she had about the family.

When I arrived Ruth produced this old, tattered, photo album that was her parents. Because my Grandpa had moved away from Illinois his primary communication with the family was through the mail. This meant he sent lots of pictures. What do you do with pictures? Put them in a photo album. It seemed that most of the pictures in the album were of my Grandparents.

It was incredibly meaningful to see these pictures for several reasons. First, my Grandparents were divorced and each remarried long before I was around. Second, my Grandfather was in a tragic accident which left him paralyzed making it extremely hard for him to get around or speak. This also happened before my parents were married and thus long before I came around. Finally, because of my grandfather's debilitating condition I didn't know him well until the last few years of his life. My father and my brothers and I took turns for a year or two helping get grandpa cleaned up and dressed in the morning. It was while I was shaving his face, changing his sheets or bed pad, and doing a number of personal tasks for him that I came to know and love my grandfather.

Since my grandfather passed away about 8 years ago, I've often dreamed of the day when I would see him again as a resurrected being in his full stature and be able to embrace him and talk with him freely without the challenges of his injuries. These pictures are so beautiful to me because my grandparents are happy together and my grandfather is in the prime of his life - in his full stature.

This one wasn't in the album but I love it so much I had to include it...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is really cool Dan - I love old pictures of my family too - I went to visit my Grandma a while back, and she pulled out her old "shoebox" of pictures, and I ended up taking a bunch of them home with me to scan into the computer - I love one in particular of her at a family reunion when she was a young kid - it's in Illinois at an old park and there are about 100 people in this photo - all of the women with gloves and hats, the men with their suits and greased hair. I love it!! There's so much to learn from them!!