I want you to take a close look at this family. Something is missing. Yeah, they look happy enough, I suppose, but all four of them look a bit sad. We all know why. No Richard. He's just a gleam in his daddy's eye, though it's possible that by the time of this photo he's more of a gleam in his mommy's uterus. Perhaps that explains the hint of a smile on Grandma Sack's face.Nothing, however, explains Grandpa's hair. Joanne was guessing that whoever took the picture yelled, "Melvin! Take off your hat so we can see your face!" He may have tried arguing, but obviously lost.
And suddenly Dad is in the world. As you can see below, he was unimpressed. (Joanne was placing this photo in the spring of 1945, probably a few miles south Bunker Hill, KS, based on the way there is absolutely nothing to break the horizon other than these smiling kids.)
The kids so proud to be posing with him are his sisters, Charlotte and Opal (the girls in the middle and on the right, respectively), and his cousins, Duane and Gail. They were the children of Melvin's brother, Roy.
Melvin and Kay were very close to Roy and Florence. Though Florence and Kay were only related by virtue of marrying brothers, they got along better than many true sisters. Grandma and Aunt Florence even looked like sisters. They continued to visit and keep in touch until Grandma started to slip away. I once gave Grandma a ride to visit with Florence during winter break around '91-'92 on my way to visit my g.f. at the time. The two families spent a lot of time together
Next thing you know, there's baby Richard jumping rope.
I have no idea why they posed a baby with a jump rope. It does sort of explain why I've never seen my Dad jump rope, I suppose. This looks pretty traumatic to me. You will never catch me taking photos of Maxine doing silly things. Unless you read my blog.
Seeing Dad, Aunt Charlotte and Aunt Opal in pictures like this is fascinating. It's still difficult to mentally transition them from black and white, still pictures like this into kids that ran around, playing, undoubtedly getting dirty and having fun, and all that other stuff that kids do. Intellectually I know it's true, but it's hard to absorb it as a truth.
Dad, I hope you enjoy seeing these pictures again. If you have anything to add, I will be happy to post it here.
And now, I would like to catch up to the present: My Dad has been a very good father. If I am in any way doing a good job with Maxine, it is because I had a most excellent teacher. Not only did he do a great job, he continues to be a good father to me, a good father-in-law to Horyon, and a good grandfather to Maxine. He has put as much, if not more, time and sweat into this house than I have. He has prepared a sewing room for Horyon that is everything she hoped for, and more. He has probably used up his next ten years' quota of getting stuff done on time to make us feel that we are living in a home, and not just a house. He is always ready to listen when I have a problem, and usually able to give helpful advice. I'm not even going to go into the money he has spent on us, the minivan he bought before we even arrived (which we're still going to pay for!), the expertise he brings to home construction, the loads of stuff he's hauled away for us, the meals he's cooked and bought for us. I will simply leave it at this:
Moving back to America has been physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. I'm not sure we would have come back, if not for my parents. And I know we couldn't have done this well without them. I know Mom didn't get a big Mother's Day write-up, but this goes for you as well. We love you both, and are more grateful than you can imagine.