Sis will be coming to visit sometime this month, we hope, and we're looking forward to having some of our good old chats and drink-two-pots mornings where we sit there in our jammies til the clock strikes Lunch.
She's done a wonderful research into our family's genealogy, even going to Salt Lake City to that biggest-trove-of-info-in-the-country for a week and barricading herself with files and wills and pictures and transcripts and TREES. We have boxes and boxes of pictures of our own, from both sides, though not nearly as many from Daddy's side. What there are of his go back only to those more recent Kodak moments of sepia or black-and-white, with folks squinting into the sun as a long shadow reaches from camera to their feet. Most of those little rectangles have a tiny black-and-white checkery border, and lots in the boxes attest their having been ripped from their life-in-scrapbooks, for many corners still bear the tiny pointed black ears of the wee stick-on brackets which affixed many a picture to a blotter-black page.
We're into doing a lot of picture-identifying, and I wish previous generations had done so. We've been writing names on the back of all the pics we can identify. I wish also that everybody with boxes and albums and framed pictures---I'm talkin' even that great huge family portrait from 1888 that's in the flaky old frame over the mantel, and might collapse in your hands if you take it apart---I WISH you'd write the names on the back of your pictures, or at least on a piece of paper adhered to the picture. Or even stuck in an envelope WITH the picture.
We marvel at the facial expressions, the clothes, the fading draperies and tattered flowers of the stage-set of the early photos, and also think that perhaps this might be the only picture of those people that there is. In this day when our Grands have developed a permanent flinch-and-blink when Ganner approaches with the camera, and our own archives of holidays and vacations and just plain Tuesday have reached thousands in number---it's sad that our forebears in their one fading black-and-white, struck still and motionless by the gravity and the luxury of the thing, are fading as people, as well, for after our generation---who will know their names?
We delight in our own Mammaw's family---they of the ten siblings and widowed Mother, whose little family band, in those days before the TVA reached their hills and hollers, would oblige with a good old twangy gospel number or version of Redwing or Wildwood Flower for whoever called up over the party line. And in one picture, our dear, rotund, ladylike Mammaw herself---who never owned a pair of trousers in her life, is perhaps twenty---tall and slim and mysterious with her equally-dark and soignee' sister, both attired in gentlemen's pin-stripe suits and peeking seductively from beneath tilted fedoras.
And we still laugh at each other on the phone---we came across one old photo two trips ago that was an old-timey postcard, with a couple pictured on the front, as they so often had pictures made in those days (90's--10's or so) The message on the back of the couple's picture (and I grant you they WERE very stiff and formal, but I DO think the writer meant for the demise to have happened long AFTER the photo session), read: "Mrs. Cordelia Martin and Mr. Luther Martin. Mr. Luther Martin is dead."
We just hee-haw at that one, and of course, the obvious comment is "Don't he look Nachrul!" which sends us off into further unseemly brays.
Y'all! Go write some names on some PITCHERS!!! Your descendants will thank you.