2021: K – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…
I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.
I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!
K… Keepsake Photos
Love this early photo of my parents with me… I look to be maybe a year old. Wish I had more memories of them together… but they’re just not there. My mother looked so unhappy here… just looking in her eyes… actually both looked somber. Maybe their relationship was already on the rocks. Mama always said they were the happiest when daddy was in the Navy and they lived in Memphis, Tennessee… maybe they never should have returned to their hometown.
I love being the keeper of the family photos… and often have a hard time parting with them. My mother gave me all her family photographs many years ago and I’ve treasured them through the years. Later, as I became interested in our family history, they became even more interesting and precious to me… and then as I began to blog stories, I began looking at them in an entirely different way.
Every photograph tells a story… and it’s often the beholder… whose job it becomes to tell that story! Even though I asked my mother hundreds of questions through the years on many of the photos… I wish I had went page by page with her to ask questions. And now… I have no one to ask any more questions of… hope you’ll give me a sign mama on questions I now have!
This would be our last 4-generation photo taken in 2012 with Miss McKinley. Mama’s second granddaughter was given mama’s maiden name to carry the name on… it really made her day when my daughter announced she was naming her daughter McKinley. We took this photo on the steps of the Nolan home… a cotton plantation built around 1905. For some reason, I fell in love… or more obsessed over this house from my first sighting. On every trip to Georgia, it was a must to visit and take photos… even though mama would say, “you’ve been here a thousand times, why stop again.” Why… because I just want to walk up and take another photo!
Mama looked more like my sister here, than my mother. Not sure what I was wearing, but I do see my favorite black and white shoes… Bebops we called them. Mama was definitely not dressed as a mother normally dresses.. as she’s wearing a short skirt and boots… but my mother never dressed to please anyone except herself. Even though I never approved… and sometimes embarrassed, I never said anything to her.
This was our last photo of just mama and me… taken at Wolf Mountain Vineyards, just outside of Dahlonega, Georgia. My daughter and son in law was with us… and it was probably my daughter who insisted on taking this photo. I’ve always wished for more photos of us, but I’ve just never been one to be comfortable in front of the camera. Point a camera in my direction and I panic! (If you are ever in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia… do check out this winery)
While it isn’t mama in this photo, but instead her best friend, Willie Mae (Walker) Sisson… it’s what I discovered in this photo that’s important to me. Mama took several small photos with a camera she won on a punch board as a young girl. All the photographs are only about two inches in size…. but even though so small, they gave me something I’ve always wished for… in the background in this photo is a barn… my grandfather’s barn! Possibly only a family researcher might understand my excitement that overwhelmed me when I blew up the photo online… and there it was… granddaddy McKinley’s barn. If only I could have “pinched” the photo to enlarge and not distort. That was the barn where he milked the cows morning and evening… that was the barn that mama rode Bessie the cow to… that was the barn where Pat the horse was housed… that was the barn where granddaddy housed his cotton bales… that was the barn that could tell so many stories! Yes, I saw that barn along with his new barn many times in growing up… often playing in them, but I wasn’t paying attention! The only thing I paid attention to was how much corn I could put through his hand cranked corn sheller… and watch the kernels fall all over the barn floor… I kept the barn mice well fed! If only I had taken my own photos or became interested in family history at that time… If!
This photo would be mama’s favorite… as both her grandchildren with their spouses and family… all her five granddaughters are in one photo! If only I could turn back time here! Mama always said that even though she had no siblings now, and only one daughter… she was blessed with a large family!
There are more keepsake photos to follow in future posts… but they are all keepsake photos to me! The only drawback to many of my photos… is that mama to the scissors to them when she decided to crowd them all in one album… she didn’t care about the backgrounds as I do!
My previous years of A to Z Challenges:
- 2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
- 2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
- 2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
- 2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
- 2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!
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