Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Old family photo: Pop with children c. 1912

This photo is of my maternal grandfather reading to my uncles and an unidentified little girl, possibly a niece. It was taken in Kansas City, Missouri, around 1912, before the birth of my mother. My grandfather died in 1936 so I never knew him. But I love and honor him nonetheless.

The Children's Hour

-by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!


Lily Hydrangea said...

this photograph of your grandfather captures a moment from another time that is quite extraordinary.
It is not often I see really old photos where the people look genuinely happy. Your grandfather & these children look especially content!
Their expressions also match the feel of the poem illustrating it perfectly.
Lovely, Lydia.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

My family are photographers - my dad has a great collection of photos of my great-grandad and family, but sometimes i've been blugeoned with the facts for so long that its a bit too much!

Still - a great family photo. You can tell that having your photo taken back then was a big event. Is this printed on a postcard?

An odd fact - the Duke Of Wellington (as in Napoleon's enemy) was one of the first people to pose for his photograph!

Buddha said...

Do you have any children?
I have two daughters and I love them dearly. I wish I can keep them forever young but they are growing up and I know one day they will grow wings...
Quite a handsome man. your grandfather.

Yolanda said...

I love this post. It has been awhile since I read your blog.

Lydia said...

Your comments were meaningful to me, so beautifully expressed. After my mother died I did a huge family project of old photos and docs on four discs. One photo needed to be repaired before I could copy it, and the merchant commented similarly: the group was uncharacteristically happy for photos of that time. I think I'll publish that one next time I do an old family photo here.

You probably have some photos that people would love to see. Also, my friend, I want to say that I too felt overwhelmed with stories, stories, more stories. It has dismayed me that I didn't pay sufficient attention at times and some of the history is now lost. By the same token, I've discovered fresh information that is meaningful to me that my mother never chose to share or perhaps didn't know about.
No, it wasn't printed as a postcard - just a photo on thick paper.

No, I didn't have any children, but I have a child of the heart in another country. I do know from your sweet expressions at your blog that you adore those girls of yours, and I'm sure you are a wonderful father.
My grandfather was handsome, I agree. My grandmother was short and she said that women walking toward them on the street would look right over her to stare at him. :)

Hey, it's great to have you visit my blog again. I'm glad that I had a post that was truly appealing to you when you came by. I'm going to visit yours next.....

naomi dagen bloom said...

How lucky you are to have this lovely photo. Since I have nothing of my family of origin, that must be the reason I've collected images of other families...and am a good listener to stories of others with more known history.

Lydia said...

That's such a wonderful picture of you; the artist just shines forth!
Honestly, ever since you wrote in your blog about collecting old photographs I've appreciated the ones in my possession even more. Thanks for the fresh eyes I see them with now!

Rhiannon said...

The photo and poem are so very very sweet. I used to collect the old vintage photos from the late 1800's at antique stores...total strangers and yet I would wonder about their life stories.

I used to draw a lot of the women from these old vintage photos with their hair all piled up so beautifully on top of their head.

I loved your little fishies in the tank swimming around..I long for an aquarium where I can look at it and just feel a sort of meditative peace..it's so peaceful to watch fish in water like that..so anyway I hope you don't mind I added the same fish widget to my blog. I'm a Pisces (fish)and chinese Rabbit anyway..:o)

Enjoying your blog..oh I don't have any kids of my own either...I tried for many years way back when, went through a lot with that. It's kind of hard to form friendship with women my age who have kids, as they just don't seem comfortable about it when your my age and have no family or kids..sigh..whatever..it is a really hurtful but I get along great with kids, teens, and folks older than me for some odd reason but not people my age..does this happen to you at all?

Sorry got carried away here rambling.



Lydia said...

So good to have you here, and of course I am thrilled that your blog will also host a charming aquarium! Especially since you're a Pisces, it's a must-have for you. I love that tank of fishes for the same reasons you described.

I do know what you mean about having a certain ease with children, teens, and elders that is difficult or missing with many women my age. I think that in some ways we women who didn't have children aren't as rooted in our ages at any given time because there aren't "little shoots" in our midst to define us. This doesn't bother me, in fact I've found it rather fascinating. But now that you have me thinking about this I revisit my fears that it might spell a problem in old age.

It's good to have this kind of communication with you! So late (early a.m.) right now and I need to get some sleep... but I'll be by your blog tomorrow.



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