Friday, May 25, 2012

Family Photographs

Pretty much every available inch of wall space in my house is filled.  I need more walls!  Underneath the countless pictures, there are so many nail holes that the sheet rock is like Swiss cheese. It's only Spackle that's holding everything together.  But I can't help it: I like to hang things up.  And my favorite things to hang are family photos.

In my dining room, I have a wall of antique and vintage photographs that are especially dear to me.
These precious pictures include relatives from both my husband's side and mine.  Our parents are there, as children with their own siblings and again as young, movie star-gorgeous adults.  Their parents are there, too, and their grandparents as well.  I have one of my father-in-law as a little tyke in a sailor suit and one of my mother-in-law as the Rose Queen at her college in the fifties.  I have one of my mother's father and his younger siblings, when Grandpa was a little boy in short pants, and one of my mother posing in her princess-style wedding dress in 1956.

My father's father died when my dad was only six, so I prize the group photograph of him--the grandfather I never met--with my grandma, my dad and his sister, and the rest of Grandma's family.  My mother-in-law's father died when she was only ten, so I am thrilled to have two pictures of him--the grandfather my husband never met, the handsome Irishman who came to this country from County Cork at the age of 19--on my wall as well.

There's so much history on this dining room wall!  And when I look at these pictures--like the one of my maternal grandparents, young and all dressed up for a night on the town--I remember all of these loved ones, most of whom are not with us anymore.  Looking at their faces, captured for eternity on film, reminds me that even after they're gone we're forever connected.

One of my oldest son's high school friends, who has a very dry sense of humor, made a comment once about my wall of family history.  He said that as you go left on the wall, you go really far back on the family tree.  But just for the record, the two people in the picture on the far left are not relatives of ours (at least that I know of!).  That's a piece of artwork on papyrus that my brother-in-law brought back from a trip he took to the Holy Land back in his Navy days.

I used to watch a TLC show called "Trading Spaces," where two couples switch houses for a couple of days and totally re-decorate one room as a surprise for the owners.  (I don't know why I enjoyed this show; almost without exception, I thought the new rooms were far uglier after the designers were through with them than they were to begin with!  I wouldn't have let those people in my house for a million dollars!)  My youngest son used to wander in from time-to-time while I was watching, and whenever they did the big "reveal" of a newly decorated room, his most frequent comment was, "Where are all the family pictures?"  Everywhere he looks in this house, the walls are plastered with them.  It was inconceivable to him that anyone would want a room without them.

I, for one, wouldn't!  And I think we're going to have to build on an addition or something, so I'll have more wall space; because now that we have grandchildren, the number of new family photographs I'll need to hang is going to increase exponentially!  As far as I'm concerned, though, too much is never enough.

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