Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title. ~ Virginia Woolf
This photo is one my Dear Hubby took a few Christmas seasons ago. He'd gone hunting at his cousin Ed's house which is just across the road from this one. This house has special memories for Dear Hubby...it is the farm homestead of his maternal grandparents who originally emigrated from Austria in the very early 1900s. They settled in Canada, to begin with, then came to Oregon City. Dear Hubby's mother, the last of 14 children, was born here in 1929. When I married Dear Hubby in 1974 only a handful of the children had passed away. As I write this, my mother-in-law and two of her brothers are still alive. But one is terminally ill with cancer and may die within days.
Dear Hubby spent a good portion of his early years in this house. His mother worked so his grandmother took care of him and one of his sisters during the day. His grandma never learned to speak much English. When they moved to Oregon this house was far enough out in the country that she rarely went to 'town' so there was little need for her to speak anything more than the basics. Dear Hubby tells me he never spoke German but he could understand it when his grandmother spoke it to him. This house was the Sunday gathering place after church when everyone who could would come over for dinner. Dear Hubby had something like 60 first cousins so I can just picture little ones frolicking all over the yard, the porch, the fields. They were a big, boisterous group. I don't know if the accordions and the spoons were brought out on any of these Sundays but I've been to wedding celebrations where they were and the family would dance polkas and the Schottische. There was a lot of life lived in this house. But, like with all families, parents aged and died. Sadly, the house was sold outside of the family tho Cousin Ed still lives across the road in the house he grew up in, and family still lives scattered all over the nearby area.
I don't exactly envy Dear Hubby for this rich heritage but I often wonder what it must have been like growing up surrounded by so much family. He had cousins who were as close to him as siblings. So, as he took this untouched photo that day, I wonder at the memories that must have been moving at lightning speed thru his mind. Picturing his parents as their younger selves, seeing his long-gone grandparents and aunts and uncles. Picturing himself, a skinny little dark-haired boy playing in the yard. Eating all the wonderful food prepared and served in that house.
I never had that, growing up.
Maybe...on second thought...I do envy him after all.