January 21, 2011

Stepping Back

Up until now, my longing for the past has been limited to reliving parts of my own life. I know I've romanticized previous periods when life was less complicated or held less responsibility. And I'm pretty sure all of you have done the same. Conveniently, I forget most of my challenges back then. Or I don't recognize that overcoming those problems helped me to gain the skills necessary to handle what is now on my plate.

My aunt recently gave me a CD of some old family photos, which I just looked at the other day. The above photo shows one of the waterskiing trips my grandparents took my mother and her siblings on. It's probably not very fair for me to look at this snap shot on one day and judge the rest of their lives, but I do. I love the family togetherness.

And I love to see my grandfather here so vibrant. I didn't know him with dark hair. And for that matter, I was 5 when my mom went to the beauty salon to get her hair frosted...and it never grew out. Each year more and more gray came. Like father like daughter. My children will never know my mother with dark hair.

But way back then she and my aunt (above) worked on Saturdays at the A&W. They came home in the afternoon with remnants of rootbeer floats, burgers and fries on their clothes, cleaned up, sewed a new dress and went to the dance at the nearby Air Force base. I love that they were so proficient at sewing that they could produce a dress in a few hours. My mother loves sewing because no one will ever have the exact same dress as you. And she loved the dances. Because guys massively outnumbered the girls, the girls were dancing the entire night. Uh, this is just not what dances in my youth were like. So yes, I romanticize it. And yes, both my mother and aunt married Air Force men.

Here's my mom and her mother. I'm guessing this is from around the time she graduated college (1965). Back then she looked so young, so full of life. And the contrast to her present day health is a little scary. Probably most of all to her. Because I'm pretty sure she thinks of herself as this girl and not the aging woman who has health issues that leave her weak and interfere with the life she wants to have. 

It's so weird to think of my parents together over 40 years ago.

A part of me longs to step back in time and be there. Longs to know my parents back then. And my grandparents. I want to go out with them and their friends. I want to work along side them and to know my aunts and uncles way back then. To appreciate their hard work, creativity and positive traits as a peer instead of as an ungrateful child. My parents have truly given me the best years of their lives. And they still do. They enriched my childhood with exciting adventures and a strong work ethic. Now they give me and my children the best of their golden years. And I think they like it. A lot.

It's this longing that is totally unfamiliar to me. How can I long to be with people whose prime happened decades before I was born? Somehow, in heaven, I hope there is a continuous spectrum of time phenomenon happening ... maybe like in LOST. Or better because you couldn't get stuck in any one period. I want to know people and be with them at any point in their life. One day we'd be emigrating from the homeland and crossing plains with a handcart or wagon and the next day we'd be cutting grass on a riding lawn mower.

And it'd also be cool to show up at the pearly gates wearing clothing from our prime years. Some wearing fantastic 1950 frocks and horn-rimmed glasses, while others show up with 1970s polyester pant suits or big skirts with petticoats or powdered wigs and knickers.

5 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. Powdered wigs and knickers. I'm adding that to my list of things to do when I die.

    Wonderful post. It's amazing the power of an old picture.

    Found you on MMB.

  2. You've added a new dimension to my frequent forays into the old family photos. I come from a dysfunctional family, seldom found together except on my genealogy charts or mixed up in my box of photographs. I have never imagined the great reunion on the other side of the veil. You've added a fantastical view that makes it worth anticipating. Thank you.

    I'm here from MMB Post of the Week (#26 The Man of My Dreams) http://husbandsdeepestdesire.blogspot.com/2011/01/man-of-my-dreams.html

  3. I absolutely adore these photos! Fashions from the 50's are my favorite!

    Thanks for stopping by over at Seoul Searching Mama!


  4. This is a great post, Bridget. You're mom looks so beautiful in the young photos. It's funny to think of how old our parents seemed when we were young. Now, I am at least a decade older than my mom was when she seemed "old" to me.

  5. I find myself doing this too. How interesting.


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