Monday, July 24, 2017


I'm in the process of throwing out stuff that no longer is needed or wanted. In that process, I found boxes of old photos dating back to before I was married. I decided to take a walk down memory lane through these old photos and reconnect with my past and my little family as we grew up together.

There are photos of long ago visits places in Europe and around the country that I have forgotten about, and some I wonder why I ever took the picture, not knowing where it is anymore. I suspect some out of the way place in the swamps of Florida or maybe tucked in between some farm in Amish country in Pennsylvania or a country side in Ireland.

There are photos of Washington, D. C. and San Diego, all preserved on photo paper and tucked away in these boxes. I tried to commit them all to digital formats but haven't finished it yet. There are tons of slides of my honeymoon to Europe with my beautiful bride and sweet memories that remind me we were young once. She, of course, looks younger than I do as we age. All beautiful, sweet moments!

But the fascinating photos are of my children, all four of them, growing up, clowning around, doing chores and partying. Happy moments at birthday parties, graduations, and religious rites and celebrations. I see them and I realize how happy I was back then and lucky to have had them along with their mom, life is beautiful.

As I look at them, I feel like a voyeur that has been thrown back in time, feeling the moments as they occurred and thinking: "Of course, how could I have forgotten that!" To touch upon those simple days when I struggled to build a life for them, How I always wanted to be home with them, making sure that I got home at night in time to see them at dinner, or at least before they went to bed.

Long train rides and afterward long car rides to and from work, played on me but never deterred me from fulfilling my dream of providing for them, no matter how uncomfortable it was, it was my duty and honor and I was duty bound and honor bound to do it.

Photos tell a story not only of the moment but of the hour and day and yes, even the year. It tells how I felt about things at a given moment and yet speaks about the lifestyles I lived. It reminds me of how hard my wife worked raising our children and how much I truly owe her for her dedication to them and her love that made them who they are.

The pictures of my daughter remind me of the struggle we faced as a family with a handicapped child, the ostracizing of an ignorant society, family that didn't understand and moments when we wanted to just lay down on the floor and cry, and yet we see her in a costume, or with cake on her face and we smile and laugh and want to squeeze her.

And now in a new era, all my photos or a majority of them come from my cell phone. The majority are of my granddaughter, Darby Shea. As I look at all the photos, I realize in her three short years of life, I have more photos of her than of her Father, Uncle, and Aunt, more than of my wife or me and all together they couldn't match the number of my sweet little grandkid.

I am a lucky man.


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