Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One May Only Wonder

Over a century of photos lay scattered on our dining room table teasing me to stack, sort, and place in order, but Lucy Bird wants to play outside. Hum...play outside in the snow in zero degrees with a Northwest wind gusting or sit inside by the fireplace and sort pictures. Easy decision.

First, I layered my back and hips in biofreeze, a necessity for cold weather walking. Then I piled on the clothes with Lucy jumping at my every move. Heavy socs, scarf, and hat helped to accessorize the winter wardrobe. At last we stepped out the door, oops, back in for sunglasses. Off at last, no lease today. Lucy ran figure 8's up and down the street destroying the serene beauty of front yards without children. Birds fluttered in and out of bushes, cats skittered and hid, while I shuffled along afraid of being clipped by Lucy on a fly by. The prairie grass field beckoned us to roam. In my head the black days and dates flashed through my mind: gunshots in Dallas, killing fields, the Space Shuttle spiraling out of control, the shell of the Murrah building, planes crashing into towers, and still it continues. It took only moments for the fresh air to clear my head of death, tragedy, and blame. I wonder, today 1-11-11 can something exhilaratingly wonderful occur?

Once back home with toes warming at last and a bowl of chicken noodle soup in me, I jumped and jiggled trying to energize my sluggish blood to flow faster, so I could sit and sort. Pictures everywhere with few names and dates, and places lost forever. I wonder, a hundred years ago was my family not bound by dates and deadlines?

To the left I begin the Clendening Weaver pile. My grandmother, Pearl Clendening Weaver and her sister, were raised by an aunt and uncle in Indianapolis after her mother died in childbirth. Their father eventually went West looking for gold, never to return leaving another life story unfinished. How did she meet my grandfather, Tobias Weaver? One photo shows a child, my mother, reaching for her mother's skirt. Behind them a large open draped tent over a wooden frame, clothes on the line, and wash bucket too the right. Grandmother was not smiling. How hard that must have been to have followed her husband one oil field to another from Lansing, Michigan to Ardmore, Oklahoma to Wichita, Kansas. In another photo there's grandfather standing by a Model T with the little blonde girl, my mother, standing on the running board. The notation reads "Arbuckle Mts. near Ardmore, Ok." Still no smiles.

To the right the DeBacker Stapp family, heavily documented with photos from the early 30's to the 60's. My Aunt Sissie was an amateur photographer who captured much of the social life of working women in Wichita during WWII. Now, there before me, a pile of partial stories cheering me on to write.

Smack dab in the middle are the colored prints of my life since the 70's. Ironically, this assortment of photos was a result of a one day search for pictures of me as a smug-teenager (the Sweet Potato Queens understand). My three complete albums from Disneyland in 1960 to my Delta Gamma years at LSU and youthful marriage, have vanished, lost in the moves and upheavals of life. A missing decade of photos...a basement of boxes to go...A table not big enough for more. I wonder?

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