From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ghosts of Christmas Past (5)

All In The Family...





This is my family at Christmas in 1959. I'm the little girl with glasses on the end. My sister Charlotte is sitting on my mom's lap, and my brother Dwight is next to me.

My parents are 36 years old in this photo, my sister is 3, I'm 8, and my brother is 13. (I say this with some confidence because the processing date is stamped on the photo: "February, 1960.")

This photo was taken at the Harry Sees farmhouse at Gordon, NE, the house that my Grandpa Sees built and my mother grew up in. Gramp Sees was not with us the Christmas this photo was made because he passed away not long after my sister was born. He was in his early 50's, and he died from leukemia -- a disease that had few treatments at that time.

It was probably a sad Christmas for my parents, my aunt Becky and Uncle Larry, and Grandma Barb. I realize that as I look back today, but I have happy memories of our Christmas visits to Grandma Barb. I remember a big Christmas tree with tinsel, packages wrapped in sparkly tissue paper and my uncle carving the turkey. The pantry off my Grandma's kitchen always smelled like graham crackers, and she had a dispenser for wooden matches that hung on the wall near the pantry door.

And I remember the television set at Grandma Barb's house. We didn't have a TV, so I was mesmerized whenever I saw one.

At Christmas of 1959, Dwight D. Eisenhower was still the President of the United States. I remember telling my brother once that I wished we had a television just so I could see the President. In my young and innocent mind, the President occupied a place of reverence slightly below God but far above ordinary people.

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2 comments:

Mark said...

Pictures like these always leave me with a sense of loss, even if they are pictures of complete strangers. Ah well, "the past is a foreign country." I used to live there.

Genevieve said...

I know what you mean, Mark. I found myself much intrigued by the old family photos the Greenman (Tim Abbott) posted recently.

I realized something interesting while looking closely at this photo. I think I recognize the curtains. My aunt once gave my mother some curtains, and I ended up with some of them which I cut into quilt squares and used. I believe the curtains I cut up were the curtains in this photo.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.