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The 96 Year Old Photograph of My Daddy and His Family
In our minds our parents only began to exist the day we were born. To see them as they were long before we came into this world, is a rare gift.
Today I went to a Church festival in Cincinnati. This was the Church my entire family (on my Dad's side) attended as far back as the early 1900's.
Its the Church we were all baptized in, many were married in and many, including my Daddy, were laid to rest in.
My cousin Tommy...was at the festival today and he gave me this treasure that he found.
Its the earliest known photograph of my Dads family that Im fairly sure any of us have.
What a find!
By the time I was born, my grandparents were old people. I loved them both. They had come here in the early 1900s to make a better life for themselves and their children and they worked hard and taught that same work ethic to their children who in turn taught it to their children. I am so very proud of what my grandparents accomplished when they could barely speak English. My memories of my grandparents are still very fresh in my mind, but seeing this photograph today was a look into the past. It was a chance to see my Daddy and his sister and brothers as well as my grandparents, in a way I have never seen them before.
I loved and was close to my Aunt Sarah and all of my uncles. My Dad made sure of that. He loved them all and wanted me to know them and love them too. Thanks, Dad. I have wonderful, warm memories of all of them. What a really fortunate little girl I was to have had the wonderful family I had growing up. I used to feel very sorry for myself, having lost my Dad at such a young age. But I realize as I grow older that what really matters isnt so much those years after he died, as much as the years before he died and how much living and loving he packed into those years for all of us who knew and loved him. Those years before he died, are what prepared me for those years after he was gone.
I love that my grandparents had the foresight to have a photograph like this one taken. It had to be expensive to do it back then but someone had to be thinking of future generations who, like us, would recognize the value of a family memory like this.
Right to left are my Uncle Jimmy, the eldest, next to him is my Aunt Sarah, the only girl, next to her is Uncle Tommy and then Uncle Georgie.
Held in my Dhati's (Arabic for grandmother) arms is my little, baby Daddy.
I had to fight back tears today looking at this picture and thinking of him as a baby. He was always just my Dad, but before he was my Dad, he was my grandmothers' last child and my aunt and uncles baby brother. He had this whole life, long before I was, as they say, a twinkle in God's eye. He died when he was 44 and I remember hearing so many people saying that it wasnt right that the baby of the family should die first and so young.
No...it wasnt right.
Hes been on my mind a lot recently. I think of him on his birthday, and the anniversary of his death. And I think of him on my birthday and I think of him on Father's Day. And I think of him when I look at his grandchildren and now his great grandchildren. And I think of him on all those special days that we remember our parents who are gone...which is, I guess, everyday.
I guess it was just a coincidence that my cousin Tommy gave me this photograph today, a week before Father's Day. But being at that Church today, where my Dad was baptized, married and buried from, and seeing him as Ive never seen him before in that photograph....made me wonder.