While we were still living in Missouri sometime in the late 1990's, I told my parents that I was going to make a family history album from all the old pictures I had accumulated. I explained to them in great detail what I wanted to accomplish with them. For an entire year I asked them questions about people, dates, events as I was hoping to put it all in chronological order or at the least have some semblance of organization. I also asked for pictures.
Once they assured me that I had all there was to be had, I began working on the album. The planning alone took a great deal of time because I wanted it to be ‘just right’. Before I'd even put one picture down I'd already spent many days in planning the journaling alone! I finished the album with great pride that it had come together so nicely.
Then my grandma Striker (or Nana as she was called by some) passed away and my dad inherited many, many pictures!! Ok I thought at least the McLaughlin side (mom's family) is complete and I’ll just make additional pages with the new Striker stuff.
Fast forward to 2006, when we finally move back to PA. Not only did I find that in 1987 my mother inherited my Papa & Gramma McLaughlin’s SEVEN photo albums, of which I had no idea existed, but then while moving my parents to their new place in 2008, my dad hands me another bunch of unknown things from the McLaughlin AND Striker side!!! "Did this fall from the sky?", I asked. Where was this all that time I was asking about stuff?
I have decided rather than try to incorporate all these treasures into the album I so painsakingly made before, I’m just going to put them into separate ones to spare what sanity I have left. They won’t be organized nearly as well but then again it’s difficult to combine numerous lifetimes set in pictures that have been stored precariously in boxes for 50+ years.
In some ways I am glad that it all transpired this way. After sorting through the seven albums of my Gramma & Papa Mc I have a better appreciation of what kind of people they were. As a little kid, I only knew them as ‘old’, but these pictures reveal the things that were important to them in younger years, at a time when taking pictures was still a luxury. They traveled cross country in their little travel trailer that my grandpa had built, they gardened, had pets and enjoyed their family. There is a large stack of postcards they picked up as souvenoirs, the original receipt for the ’hand money’ they put down on their house ($5.00!), newspaper clippings of their daughter’s marriages, even a newspaper clipping of the work accident that took my Papa’s thumb when he was 55 yr old! There are car/trailer registrations from the early 1920’s, a letter written by the dr. that delivered my Papa, postcards & greeting cards from family and numerous obituaries. And of course there are pictures of me with them. A cherished thing!
When I was 12 years old I told my gramma that someday I’d have a little girl that I’d name after her, Hallie. And I did, even though my gramma wasn’t around to meet her...But my Papa did and loved her dearly!
So as I get ready to start these new albums I really do consider it a labor of love. These are THEIR pictures of THEIR story from THEIR perspective. And honestly, I think it’ll turn out much better than anything I’d have done by my own accord.