I wanted to make this a weekly topic with a different photo each time, but “life” has gotten in the way lately. Let’s get a fresh start, shall we? :o)
This is perhaps one of my most favorite Adams’ cousins photo ever. I do realize it’s only a portion of the final cousin-count, but I love the colors and the faces and and the old wallpaper and Grandma and Grandpa looking tired. Who knew they still had 15 or so more babies to come into this big, loud, raucous family?
So we’ll start with Grandpa holding Jody and go clockwise. Grandma is holding Tonita and in front of them is me. Then Bart is to my left and Jesse is next to him, grinning. Jeff is in red, Bobby in turquoise (some of you got cowboy clothes for something…). Paula seems to be staring down the camera, and Barbie closed her eyes. Teresa in red, Debbie in turquoise, and Mike in front of Grandpa. Weren’t we all just the cutest bunch of kids ever?
I have no idea what the occasion was, but since Jesse and Paula, and Bobby and Bart are there, I’m going to guess it’s Thanksgiving and pheasant season? It looks like we’re having, maybe, potato soup and there’s a plate of leftover turkey in the middle of the table?
I wonder when Grandma got that bright yellow table? She gave it to my mom years later, and Dad still had it when he died. Randy had it in storage at a rental house and unfortunately the tenant ruined it. I regret that I didn’t bring it home and wedge it in here, somewhere.
It was a good, solid table and there were hundreds and hundreds of family meals eaten while sitting at it. Goulash, meatloaf, pot roast, and fried chicken with mashed potatoes. Thousands of bowls of cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs. Lunch meat sandwiches and potato chips, bowls of soup, bread and butter. Our entire family sat together every evening at 6 p.m. for supper. No TV, no radio. One of the best rules my parents had, I think.
Our birthdays were celebrated around that table with cake, candles, and ice cream. Usually we had a white or yellow cake baked in a 9x13 pan with chocolate frosting.
Eventually I not only sat there with my family for meals, but also served them meals I’d prepared. Never a tablecloth or centerpiece or candles. Food was served in the pans they were cooked in, condiment bottles set in the middle. Casual and informal. Pretty much just as you see in the photo.
There are more than food memories associated with the yellow table. We did our homework there, and played games and paper dolls. I literally covered it with piles of cut-out Christmas cookies one year, polished my fingernails, and folded hundreds of loads of laundry on it. Mom and her friends and sisters gathered ‘round with their babies and “community” glasses of iced tea.
Yes, there are tons of warm, wonderful memories for me associated with that table, but there are also some sad and painful memories. Fights and tears and sorrow. Sitting with family after our brother died. Getting in trouble for various childhood bad decisions. One of the last times I sat at that table was with my brothers to plan our father’s funeral.
I was 16 months-old in that photo, and the last time I sat at that table I was 43. To me, that table was a symbol of how our family was the most important thing, no matter what else was going on.
Okay, so you see how this post ended up in a totally different direction than it started? That’s kind of how it works sometimes…