Thursday, January 20, 2011


Mom and Dad kept meticulous, up-to-date and well-labeled photo albums over the years when we were kids. Every graduation, every First Communion, every birthday -- and there were a lot of them -- is carefully documented in volumes and volumes of photos albums, now stored on really high shelves at Mom's house.

The apple, apparently, does not fall far from the tree. And these are only 2001 through 2008, the years Mistah and I were on the road.

Anyway, despite all that scrupulous organization, sometimes one is still lucky enough to come across a shoebox full of loose papers and old letters and odd, un-photo-albumed snapshots -- a shoebox of unfiled Treasures. Which is what happened on Sunday, at Mom's.

A few weeks ago I talked about our family's annual rite of posing for a Christmas card photo, and I bemoaned a missing one:

There's a really great Christmas card photo of all of us in Korea just a few weeks after Jacquie was born. It's the only photo -- out of all the thousands and thousands of them -- where Dad actually looks overwhelmed. It's hanging on the wall in Mom's bedroom and I don't have a copy of it. That, however, will soon change.

Well, here it is:

About this photo, Jacquie commented:

I love that Korea photo that you speak of. I stared at it for so long last month when I stood there making copies of your Westy manuals. Dad looks shellshocked, but mom just takes it in stride.

Let's she if she's right:

Yep, Dad is looking shellshocked, although I just love the four hands, especially Julie's on Dad's knee . . .

. . . and Mom is taking it in stride, and looking awfully glamorous while doing so, even with a squawking Jacquie on her lap.

And the Big Sister Brigade:

Oh, we're doing just fine.

Jacquie also reminded me of another missing Christmas card photo:

There was one year when Julie, Jane and I ALL donned the flight suits with cowl necks. I remember taking the photo in Kev & Cheri's backyard, we were standing on rocks.

I comment-replied:

Dang, where *is* that triple flight suit shot? Why do I not have it? I *love* that year's photo because I'm wearing the most awesome green corduroy jumper *ever*.

Well, here is that one:

Jacquie's right: Julie, Jane and Jacquie were in fact all wearing flight suits. They even might say they were rocking those flight suits, but I'd have to disagree because flight suits are a really really bad fashion choice. I, however, am totally right about my wearing the most awesome green corduroy jumper *ever*.


I pulled a few more treasures out of the box:

Julie and Dad, with Dad, as Julie put it, "at his swarthiest." I commented (I do a lot of commenting, a lot) that Julie was just the perfect example of babyhood with that round bald head and big blue eyes and perfect eyebrows.

Julie replied:

I know I wasn't always a joy in dad's life*, but I was at that age. He loved to tell me about our visits out to the garden to look at the flowers, my big eyes taking it all in.

(*don't listen to her: there was just that one decade -- or maybe two -- when she was a rebel)

And this one is brilliant for so many reasons:

I don't know what I like more, the rosary around my neck or Dad drinking creme de menthe. I'm channelling Dad in later years -- and actually not all that many years later -- when I say, "Blech."

And finally, the pièce de résistance:

The red, smiley-face dress with choker attached. Sigh. This, my friends, was the Best. Dress. Ever. There was no debate about what to wear on picture day in 3rd grade.

It was my favorite dress of all time.

It still is.


wants a smiley dress and choker in PA said...

Oh, how I would have LOVED that smiley dress...and been so jealous had you been a classmate of mine! I went through a "hating my neck" phase in 3rd-5th grade and loved chokers and scarves, so a dress that combined the choker in the ensemble?! perfect!

I must say that I'm always fascinated by the pictures, including my own family's, where some girls have hit puberty and others have not. The adolescent girls seem decades older than the rest of the gang, just by virtue of their body. They also appear 10 feet taller...and yet, might end up being shorter than their siblings once everyone finishes growing. The flight suit photo speaks for itself!

Thanks for sharing!

Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh, these are wonderful! Love the hand on your dad's knee in that one pic.

And I am also jealous of that smiley-face dress. :)

Anonymous said...

I love every single thing about every word and picture today, El. Weepy at work - thanks! Jane

MB said...

This is great, Ellie! Love ALL the photos xoxo

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I have to mention that the shoes you are wearing with the most awesome green corduroy jumper *ever* look like they are right out of this season's Anthropologie catalouge. So vouge. Are they a size 10? Do you stil have them?

You are possibly the most adorable 3rd grader *ever*, Ellie. Really.

Gotta love a shoebox of unfiled treasures. Although, of course, they will now be promptly filed by you or your mom :-)

Nice post!


Mom C. said...

This is so great Ellie,all those little girls weare in pink, and no Beth - the shoebox is right back up in the top of the closet where it belongs! Mom C

Tami said...

So love all of those photos! But weren't they called "leisure suits" or was that just when guys wore them?!

Mom C said...

Tami, actually they were called jump suits (Ellie labeled them flight suits) and they were very fashionable.... Mrs. C

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh my heavenly stars. I love the way mom is holding my tiny little feet in the first family photo. How the hell did mom find time to get dressed up and tease her hair with all those munchkins?!

And the flightsuits. Dude, say what you will, but Julie clear is rocking that one piece, look at her Olan mills pose! And the collar? The feathered hair wings? We have a winner. As for your green jumper? It's alright, but you've got nothing on Ann's coral gauchos. Poor MB is so deep in the shadows you can barely see her! So mysterious. And speaking of shoes, there must have been a sale on brown loafers at the Bass outlet.

Great post, El!



Julie said...

It's lovely to have our childhood so well documented, but secretly I sometimes wish ours was more like the families whose photos were buried deep. but no. My rebellious years were surpassed only by my awkward years. Is there a single picture of my youth where I am NOT sporting a flight suit or winged hair? It all went to hell for me with that first Dorothy Hamil do.

But I will concede that to archive the pictoral of my dorky youth would also hide the treasures like the pink-dressed Korea photo,with my hand on dad's knee, which is warming my heart this morning.

ps- we always had brown shoes, the STAS uniform required it