The reason for these pictures, that I went digging through old photo albums - you know, the kind with the plastic cellophane sheeting covering a sticky surface, so you have to kind of dig behind the picture before you can get it free - is that my family lost my grandmother last Tuesday morning. She was a vibrant woman, always on the go, always reinventing herself, always changing. And she had a great smile.
She also loved to take pictures of her grandchildren. Or to put it in her words, "You want to have your picture made, honey?"
We'll start with a big bucket full of cute before we get to the tragic.
Me and my cousin Sara, age 3-ish, before church. I mean. REALLY. Pinafore? LOVE IT. Cute smiles? Check. We were precious.
Well, Sara's still cute, and so is Carissa (far L) and Matt is by far the chunkiest baby I've ever seen, but THAT HAIR IS NOT CUTE. It makes me weep for my 4 year-old self.
Is that a BARBIE DOLL in my hand? *gasp* That little playdate was certainly not sanctioned by my mother.
Please, no one put this on Awkward Family Photos. Matt (who got hair since the last picture!) looks like he might cry at any moment, Josh looks like he just chugged a bottle of baby Tylenol, and Emily (my little sister, the one I'm holding on the L) is showing the camera how much she loves to be held.
Just kidding. She loathed to be held. I think she probably still prefers a quick hug and clean break.
This is probably my favorite picture of my grandmother. I can still hear her laugh. It appears that even then I laughed at weird times. Like when someone was trying to take my picture.
Quick story - my grandfather, who passed away when I was five, was called John. This wasn't actually his name, though. The story goes that grandma didn't like "Ernest Weldon," my grandpa's name, and started calling him John. John is on his headstone, y'all. She was a force to be reckoned with. I hope I'm a force like that one day. I call Nolan 'Sparky," but I just don't think it'll stick.
There's me sitting still and getting a hug, and my sister running around with her blonde, NATURALLY CURLY hair. (Though I'm not bitter. 'Course not.) And can we note the watch? What did I need to be on time for? I was seven.
Wow. Check out that seventies decor. The paneling and the sofa and the carpet and the wall hanging. It's so.... brown.
Grandma, bless her heart, tried to teach me how to crochet, to no avail. I can only do one of those long chains. But check out her houseshoes. Now THOSE are some houseshoes. If I gave crocheting the single-minded dedication that you see in the picture, I could make my own. Alas.
Okay. Here's where it gets dicey.
Grandma and I shopped at the same store for our glasses, looks like. Mine were from the Dorothy Hamill collection. To go with the Dorothy Hamill haircut.
If you don't know who Dorothy Hamill is, please educate yourself on figure skaters of the seventies. Thanks.
Anyway, the glasses and hair go with the corduroy blazer (which my mom made and I secretly LOVED), lavender sweater vest and the purple ribbon tied around my neck to top off my miniature forty year-old in an eight year-old's body.
My grandmother, who I called Grandma Ellaene (prnounced Al-een), looks as she always did; elegant, (and age appropriate) with her jewelry and clothes. She was put together. One of the things I loved back then was that she had the best makeup and perfumes (Avon, probably) and that her powder room trash had little pieces of tissue with lipstick blots on them. To this day, whenever I catch a scent of her perfume (I don't, sadly, recall what it was), I stop the person, usually a woman about her age, and tell them that they wear the same scent as my grandmother.
Allyson (The cute redheaded baby in the front) got the pinafore this go-round. I got the unattractive hair and glasses. And unfortunate blue sweatsuit. In the next several months, I would get braces, as if I didn't have enough against me, here. I see the Dorothy Hamill damage was inflicted on my sister, too. She could pull it off, though.
I love that you can tell what year it is by the height of the bangs.
I also love that that rust couch was still in the picture, five years later.
Aaaand I got the pinafore again, in teenage style.
Also... I love my sister's hair.
And her shoes.
And her dress.
It makes me LAUGH. It is so patently NOT her, today.
This picture was the last time we were all together. All of the cousins. I'm sad that it took the passing of our grandmother to get us all in the same place. I'm sad that our lives are so busy and we're so far apart that it's difficult for us to catch up. Yet, I am happy that I was able to celebrate the life of a great woman with these people, and I'm glad that she isn't in any pain, and that she's in heaven.
She'll be missed. Definitely, definitely missed.
I leave you with this:
Lord, have mercy. I was an unattractive child.
This is the reason that I'll never have short hair. :)
And note to my sister: You wear a shirt under your overalls, now, right?
Don't worry. It was cute when you were five.