My children had asked me repeatedly to write names and dates on the back of family pictures. It took a long, long time, but I finally did it. Since then I have found more pictures so the work goes on.
Some bring memories of my childhood. Billy was our pet goat. My sister, brother and I, plus a few cousins, would take turns climbing into the goat wagon for a ride. It was a safe thing to do until it rained. Billy did not like getting wet.
When the rain began, Billy started running. The back of our house was not underpinned. We learned early to duck when Billy ran under it.
Naturally, there are many pictures of elementary school, high school and college years. Having taught for 20 years, I have quite a collection of pictures of former students, too. Regretfully, in a few cases I have waited too long to write names on some. Now, I cannot remember them.
Something I lingered over was an obituary for Willie “Do Right” Copeland. I had not thought of “Do Right” in years. He and I were about the same age. His family lived up the road from us a few miles out of Sparta. Until he died I had never known his real name. As far as I know, “Do Right” always did do right.
Another of my favorites is a picture of my son John, his wife, Millie, and me. We are riding a city bus in Athens. John is wearing his red UGA graduation cap and gown.
Millie and I had gone to Athens for John’s graduation. Searching around the stadium for a parking place, I followed cars turning into a cemetery. A sign clearly said, “No Parking,” but a nearby policeman made no effort to stop us.
When graduation was over, all of the 50 or more cars parked in the cemetery had been towed away. The same policeman who had watched us park there told us where to go to retrieve our vehicles.
It was a hot day in Athens and, with the car gone, we were on foot. So, when a city bus stopped, John, Millie and I climbed on. After riding back to John’s apartment, we got his car and went to bail out mine.
Looking at baby pictures of our children especially takes time. They reminds us of their innocence. Our hearts are warmed as we see chocolate-covered faces at birthday parties, children in their mom’s or dad’s shoes or wearing their birthday suits.
John and Millie, without fail, for more than a year took a picture of Laney, their firstborn, every Sunday morning. When Lillianne was born, it was totally another matter.
In most families the number of pictures parents take of each child dwindles when another baby arrives. Mine were no exception.
I have pictures galore of Cindy. There are lots of pictures of Joel. But with child number three, John, there is a shortage.
It makes me more thankful for school pictures — some with front teeth and others without — since they are a yearly record of our children’s growth.
Modern day parents take pictures of their children with their camera phones, smartphones or other devices. Plus, the children take pictures of themselves using their own smart phone, etc.
That has caused a new word to be added to our dictionaries. Those pictures are called selfies.
My favorite Christmas picture was made by then- Canton photographer Bob Lipscomb. It was for Christmas cards.
Joe and I had decided he would dress as Santa. Cindy, Joel, John and I would dress in red. We had explained to Cindy and Joel their dad would be pretending to be Santa. John was only 1 year old.
After positioning us as he wanted us, Bob said something to Joe. Joe replied. That was when John realized his dad was somewhere in that getup. Determined to find him, John attacked.
The result was a picture with Santa’s beard twisted in John’s hands. Santa’s hat was disheveled and the pillow inside the suit had shifted to one side of Joe’s body. Santa was totally bedraggled.
We did use the picture on our Christmas cards. After all, Santa and his helpers probably are that bedraggled on Christmas morning.
While we do need to write names and dates on our pictures, we usually do not need to tell the story behind them.
As we have heard said many times, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Marguerite Cline is former mayor of Waleska.