Memory Lane

Some of you may remember that I took a recent trip down to my homeland of Central California. I found some Pyrex, found an old camera, stumbled upon a stoic facade of an old schoolhouse. But what I didn't share with anyone was the why of my trip. Even though I got a sunburn, it certainly wasn't because I was relaxing poolside with knitting needles and a cocktail in hand. I actually went home to help Mumsy approach the very difficult task of cleaning out my grandmother's lonely little house. My grandmother has been gone for a few years now, and as with all difficult tasks no one really had the heart (or strength) to start cleaning it out.

This is where I come in: there is nothing I like more than approaching a hugely difficult task and making some good come out of it. So I whirled home, Mumsy and I put on our tough-girl faces, some rubber gloves and a couple of dust masks, and we went in. A lot of emotions were present, a lot of laughs were had, a lot of trash was discarded, and a lot of memories were shared. But most of all, a lot of pictures were unearthed.

I snagged a few of my favorites to bring back with me. This one seems to be snipped from a photo booth strip and I do wish it was still intact, but this will do just fine! My great-grandmother is on the right, whose beautiful 100-year-old piano lives at Mumsy's and still sounds like it did when I learned how to play on it many moons ago.  My grandmother is on the left, just a wee one.  (And can we please note the amazing tropical backdrop?!)

I had never seen this particular photo of my grandmother and for some reason it just makes me smile whenever I look at it. She was never really one to get 'all gussied up' and I feel like this is the first picture from this time where I've seen here in that state. I suppose growing up on cotton farms and cattle ranches probably doesn't leave much room for 'gussying'.  The inscription on the back says that she was only sixteen years old.  Can we say 'The Cat's Meow?

Here she is a few years later.  The shoes!  The ankle socks!  The coat!  The hair!  I think she looks like she has a secret, based on that sneaky grin.

And then I found what might be the one picture I own that is the most dear to my heart.  That would be Mumsy and my big (well, little at the time) brother who is no longer here but missed a great deal.  And what is that Mumsy is doing?  Well, she's knitting, of course!  Knitting what she told me was her very first ripple blanket...which I found in her linen closet, which she told me not to open because blankets and pillows and sheets would probably rain down on me and knock me over.  But I braved it.  And there at the bottom of the pile was a perfect blanket in stripes and shades of watermelon greens and pinks (she did make it in 1970).  The first of many signature ripple blankets she made for all my cousins upon their graduation from high school.

Once I got back from my trip and settled back into life at the pokey little apartment, I wedged these four pictures into the frame of the mirror I use to check myself before I walk out the door every day...and I'd like to think that here still or not, these ladies are smiling back at me and saying, 'Go get 'em tiger!' every time I happen to look their way.


  1. Oh what a lovely post! Love the pictures - I know how hard a task this is. It took my mom and I a great deal of time to go through my grandfathers things. But the memories is what counts and these pictures hold tons of them.

  2. Anna, thanks for sharing this, what a hard task. The photos are fantastic!

  3. Anna, thank you for sharing these amazing images and also letting us readers in to your family. Great post! Thanks again!

  4. anna, this is such a beautiful post. thank you for sharing your family and your memories. the photos really are amazing. such style and grace, even in her kerchief in that last photo, knitting. sweet story about the blanket too.

  5. Anna, this is by far your most touching blog. It's beautiful...thanks for sharing and letting us take a peek into your heart.


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