This is a photo of my Mothers family in 1949. Sixty-one years ago. I am not sure what the occasion was. My Grandparents are on the far right and my Mother is in the back row on the far left. This is a photo that brings forth many feelings for me. My Mother was very young..she was 19 years old, she wasn’t married yet..and had not yet met my father. My Grandparents had twelve children, my Mothers older brother Alfred had been killed in a car accident in 1947. My Grandmother gave birth to a very small baby boy who they named James in 1948, just four months to the day after Alfred was killed. In 1951 shortly after I was born my Grandmother gave birth to twins. So I have an uncle and an aunt who are younger than me.
The majority of these people in this photo are dead. My Grandparents lived long lives. My Uncles and Aunts not so much. Three of the siblings in this photo are living..of course my Mother the oldest girl, my Uncle in the plaid coat, and another Uncle in the very front ( the littlest boy). The twins that are not in this photo are also alive. I had a good visit with that twin Uncle a few weeks ago, he would be my favorite Uncle on that side of the family.
Most of my Mothers siblings have succumbed to some form of Liver or Brain Cancer. I just figured it out, my favorite Aunt..the one with the white anklets died when she was 58 years old, that is the age I am right now. She had a sense of humor and was an excellent cook, she also was an alcoholic..from her I learned that drinking was not glamorous. I used to visit her in the morning only, she started to drink at noon and didn’t stop until she passed out. Her children and grandchildren were robbed of her presence way too soon, not by death either..by alcohol. It is hard to stand by and watch someone drown their sorrows in a bottle. I did not go to her funeral..It was just impossible for me to attend. I did visit with my Grandparents the weekend after her death..it was very difficult for them to bury their children..and she was the fourth and last one that they buried before their deaths. Four of twelve..one/third of their children born, died and buried in their lifetime. I remember that Grandma and Grandpa both cried..she was dabbing at her eyes with a Kleenex and he with the red hankie in his pocket. They were stunned by her death..they felt guilty for being alive:(