Last week we received a treasure from my cousin Maureen. We had not seen Maureen since her mother died in 2016. When she contacted my mom and sister to ask if she could visit for a bit, all of us wanted to see her. She drove from Indianapolis on Friday and we all gathered at Mom and Dad’s for the afternoon. Not only had it been a long time since we saw Maureen, but I hadn’t been together with my parents, brother, and sister since September when we met for Dad’s birthday.
The visit was wonderful, although too short as all those visits are. We all frantically tried to catch up on five years of family living. After we had talked for a while, Maureen brought out the treasure. She had been going through some of the stuff left by Aunt Joan and found a box of family pictures that she brought to share with us. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know how I like to do genealogy and value family pictures. So the box of pictures that Maureen brought was a treasure more valuable than gold.
The box contained well over 100 pictures of grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, and houses. The oldest was taken around 1900 and the most recent was from 1990. I had never seen any of them before. There were pictures of my Grandma Clymer when she was 18 having a snowball fight. Grandma Clymer as a schoolgirl in a two-room schoolhouse. The box had pictures of my Grandma and Grandpa Clymer when they were first married in 1923. We found a picture of the first draft horse Grandpa Clymer owned to use on his farm. I had never seen a picture of my Great-Grandfather Clymer and there was a wonderful, professional portrait of the family from around 1912. There were lots of pictures of my Great-Grandparents Calvin and Irilla Dietz, my Grandma Clymer’s parents and Calvin isn’t smiling in a single one.
Going through the pictures led to wonderful conversations with my dad about his family and his growing up years. The time the Benton Ridge Evangelical United Brethren Church burned down. When Dad painted the tin roof of the family barn while his parents were on vacation. His favorite dog, Skip, who could fetch the cows from the lower pasture by himself. The time Dad locked his Grandpa Dietz in the corncrib.
As we looked at the pictures, we had to do a little detective work. We put several pictures taken the same year together and found that Grace and Dale Clymer went with her parents, Irilla and Calvin Dietz on a trip to Pennsylvania and Washington DC. There they all are standing in front of Mount Vernon or the family home of one of Calvin’s sisters. We figured out that the picture of Grace Dietz (before her marriage to Dale Clymer) at Easter Rock was taken when she went to visit her sister Fritzie in California and ended up staying for a while to work. If you put the pictures in order, you can watch my Grandma Clymer age from 8 through 75.
I remember some of the people in the pictures. Although my Grandpa Clymer died when I was just three, we had many happy years with Grandma Clymer. I also remember Great-Grandma Cora Belle Clymer who died in 1968. I love seeing the wonderful pictures of Dad as a child and his sister, Joan.
I am so grateful that Maureen brought this treasure trove of pictures. I scanned all of them so I can send copies to my brother and sister. Thankfully, she brought these pictures while my dad can still recognize the people in them and share stories about them.
If you have older parents, as many of us do, don’t wait to ask them to tell you stories about their growing up. Maybe they have some family pictures you can look at together. Do it now – before it is too late. One of the saddest things is having a box of pictures and knowing you missed out on hearing the stories that went with them.