Last week, Mr. Legs and I spent five days traveling back to the future. We drove seven hours to our state of birth where we spent three non-stop days getting reacquainted with relatives and friends. The other two days were mostly devoted to travel time, although we drove an additional eight hours to other destinations during the three days there.
Realizing he hadn’t spent a birthday with his Mom in too many years, my husband suggested a road trip during that well-chosen time. Adding to the decision was the draw of fall colors further north and my desire to exchange photos with relatives. By exchanging photos I don’t mean showing off a few in your purse/wallet, I mean returning boxes of pictures and taking more containers of others for the purpose of scanning (think volume). The piles are smaller than they were when I started out doing this, but the scanning, cropping, labeling and organizing is time consuming. My determined goal of having complete collections of family photos is an ongoing journey due to photos being discovered at different times in more than one place and shared by different people.
I often feel like I have my own personal time machine, transporting my mind back to moments in my past or moments in the lives of others, known or unknown. With pictures as the activation button, I am pulled into a year or decade gone by. Even without a label, years can be guessed by clothing style, hairstyles or home décor. During this most recent trip, we found ourselves in a room full of aunts and uncles viewing the family photos on a large television screen. So, there we all were together – our common ancestors and us. Seven sets of eyes taking in each image as it flashed in front of us. Each face on the screen representing different memories to different people, but usually generating similar emotional reactions. The room came alive with comments and I grabbed paper and pen, trying to jot notes about people and places.
An aunt told me that saying my mom changed her name was not really true (see “She Changed Her Name” post under my family history category). It was new information to me that she had not been named “Joan”, but “Jo an” as two words. Most people assumed it was Joan and therefore called her Joannie, which she did not like so changed her name to Jo Anne. In the end, it was not so different from the birth name given, but more of a clarification. My attention was then turned to my mom’s other sister. Since there was another older Rhoda in the relation, I asked my Aunt Rhoda if she had been named after her. She said no, that she had been told she was named after a good friend of her mother’s. We then asked my uncle if there was a reason he had been given his name. He said they likely gave him that name because he always answered to it. Funny guy.
There was discussion about a family trip taken…why they went, where they went and how they went. It interested me that each of them remembered a different aspect of the trip. There were memory searching questions about foster children who lived with them for a time, pets they had and houses they lived in. I knew I would not retain it all and I could not write words or phrases fast enough to prompt my memory enough to recall the conversations. But it was just fun to be among them all – those still living and those who lived in our memories as pictures moved across the screen.
I spend so much time with photos, that it was fun to be with real people and hear audible words instead of reading written ones. It was unfortunate that we had to rush off to visit another relative, but I’m grateful they all had and shared time to gather together while I was there. In this ongoing project, I was pulled back to the future and it was a history high.