Fam­ily pho­tos found

The Covington News - - Opinion - PAULA TRAVIS

My sis­ter and her daugh­ter and grand­daugh­ter came to visit me last week. My niece is re­search­ing our fam­ily his­tory and wanted to pick our brains and copy what­ever pic­tures we had of our par­ents and grand­par­ents.

When my par­ents died, my sis­ter and I cleaned out their house and divvied up what we wanted to keep and do­nated the rest. The only thing we had a prob­lem with was sev­eral photo al­bums con­tain­ing pic­tures of us as chil­dren and my par­ents and their fam­i­lies. Nei­ther one of us wanted to throw them away, but nei­ther one of us wanted to cart them home. That was about 15 years ago. I won the al­bums and duly car­ried them home and packed them away.

Then my sis­ter calls about two months ago and said in an omi­nous voice that her daugh­ter was com­ing, in July, to make copies of sev­eral framed por­traits I have of my par­ents and that she wanted to see the al­bums. She said her daugh­ter was not happy with us as we did not seem to be good record keep­ers and did not have the in­for­ma­tion she wanted or needed. Her daugh­ter is into this an­ces­try thing and even trav­eled to Eng­land to trace her fa­ther’s fam­ily tree.

I kind of ig­nored her pro­nounce­ment for about a month and then be­gan to worry where I had put those pic­ture al­bums or even if I still had them. My sis­ter said I would have to en­dure the wrath of her daugh­ter if I did not find them or if I had thrown them away. I protested and said at least I had saved the al­bums to be­gin with be­cause my sis­ter had not wanted to keep them at all. I was putting off the in­evitable, hav­ing to search for those pesky pic­ture al­bums; you know the kind — on black pa­per with black and white pic­tures held in by lit­tle stick­ers on cor­ners.

I searched in two chests in the liv­ing room, two chests in one bed room, a chest in an­other bed­room and the bot­tom of a closet, an­other chest and un­der a bed. One more chest, and then in the last chest I found them.

I called my sis­ter so ex­cited and told her I found them. I said they were in the last place I looked. She rather tartly, but sen­si­bly, said it is al­ways in the last place you look be­cause you don’t look any more af­ter you find it. But she was just as re­lieved as I was that we had done some­thing right and would please her daugh­ter.

Not only did I find the pic­ture al­bums, I found my mother’s grad­u­a­tion composite — a pic­ture in sepia with lit­tle ovals con­tain­ing the pic­tures of ev­ery­one in her class. I was par­tic­u­larly pleased to find that be­cause it set­tled the ques­tion of how to spell my mother’s maiden name. (I know you South­ern­ers who are ob­sessed with cousins and sec­ond cousins and in-laws are hor­ri­fied by that con­fes­sion. All I can say is I’m sorry.)

My niece said that we even put the wrong first name for my mother’s mother on my mother’s death cer­tifi­cate. My sis­ter and I are hor­ri­ble ge­neal­o­gists.

Any­way, the group did arrive and I was able to pro­duce all the pic­tures needed. My sis­ter and I rem­i­nisced and tried to fill in as much in­for­ma­tion as we could re­mem­ber. It took a while but we did fi­nally re­mem­ber the name of my mother’s aunt and her hus­band and son. (Again, in my de­fense, all of our rel­a­tives live in Mas­sachusetts and we moved here more than 60 years ago and have not had that many oc­ca­sions to visit rel­a­tives.)

While she was here, my sis­ter wanted to see the col­umns which con­tained anec­dotes con­cern­ing her and I showed them to her. She asked her daugh­ter to scan them for her along with some of the pic­tures.

She thinks she de­serves a cut of my salary or at least some recog­ni­tion for be­ing such fer­tile ground. She also said I made a mis­take in the col­umn about our marathon of ad­di­tion and sub­trac­tion af­ter our trip to Prague et al. I didn’t owe her 50 cents, she owed me $2.40 and she didn’t pay it be­cause I made her spend all that time adding and sub­tract­ing when she said we were even. Record straight.

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