Friday, June 09, 2006

A Shared Memory Becomes My Own

On my way to Hell the other day (see post of 06/06/2006), I stopped in to visit a cousin of mine who lives in the general vicinity. I needed to return the collection of old photos he was kind enough to share with me. I'd scanned the photos and burned them to DVDs over the winter (the cool kind with a photo-image burned on the front instead of a label). He's one of the very few people in my family who has come through for me in spades. Several of my cousins have promised they would share information/documents/photos with me, but so far my cousin Chet is the only one who has actually made a significant effort to contribute to the family history.

Not only did Chet spend time finding all the old photos to share with me, but he personally delivered them to me and took the time to go over them all identifying what/who he could. Chet is one of the oldest of the 17 1st cousins on my dad's side of the family, I'm one of the youngest. He actually has memories of my paternal grandfather (who died 7 years before I was born), not many other living souls can say that.

So while I was visiting with cousin Chet I asked him to tell me about our grandfather. He smiled and said he didn't remember much but he did have a couple very clear memories of him. One memory was of sitting around the parlor in my grandfather's house, with grandfather and a few of our uncles listening to the radio broadcast of Joe Louis boxing. The other memory was the pose our grandfather favored when he was "just sitting around". Chet modeled the pose for me... leaned back in a rocking chair sort of slouched down, his right leg draped over the arm of the chair and left leg facing ahead but bent, chewing tobacco with his spittoon nearby. It's not the most flattering image, I'll admit. But I don't have any memories of our grandfather to call my own so I'll treasure it just the same.

One small section of Chet's beer mirror collection.

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