February 7, 2015

By far the greatest find at my mother’s house this weekend was old family photos that I have never seen before.

In fact, I found three photos of my grandparents that my mother had never even seen, and she was thrilled to have them.  I also found my mother’s college yearbooks tucked away in a moldy closet.  She thought they had long been thrown out.

My grandmother Murielle (aka “Mama Benton”) was my first grandparent to die, passing when I was only 10 years old.  I don’t have as many memories of her as I would like.  I remember her as quiet and polite and always cooking something.  I can still see her sitting by the stove on her stool, wiping the sweat from her forehead and stirring a pot of something that smelled delicious.   She was kind and gracious.  Her mother and father built the house that my mother grew up in.  Murielle’s father was from England and was a military man, tall and stern.  Her mother was from Virginia and looked a lot like my grandmother.

My grandfather Clint (aka “Pa”) was kind and jovial.  He died on the day of my senior prom and my brother Joe’s birthday, when I was 18 years old.  I remember his laugh, his funny stories of yore, and how hard he worked in his garden.  He loved his dogs and raised quail.  He seemed to always be working in the garden or sitting on the porch swing.  He also used to love eating saltine crackers crumbled up in milk.

He was bald for most of his adult life and surely when I knew him, so to find a photo of him with hair was quite exciting for me.  I didn’t even recognize him!

So here you have it…special memories that were tucked away for years.  I’m so glad I found them.

December 27, 2014

I took time to remember my father today. I miss him.  We had a great relationship and I have so many fond memories of him.  His office was in our backyard, and it is still much the same as it was when he worked there. The photos include some of his tools and things he was working on before he died.  He kept his nails and screws in Sir Walter Raleigh cans, as that was his tobacco of choice for his pipe and he hated to throw away the cans after he had used them. There is also a view of his office from our back yard, including the swing that used to be mine. The photo on his desk is of me when I was 10 in a frame that I made for him for Father’s Day in 1975.  What looks like a photo of the devil is a very old drawing that he had on his wall, an early optical illusion called “Gossip.”  It used to fascinate and frighten me at the same time. And the cat?  The cat is over 25 years old and is the surviving cat of three that my dad kept in the office. Freckles is still going strong and can still jump up and down to the window that she loves to look out.