I know that many people took their film to get it developed right after finishing the roll, and my parents intended to do that too, but like me, life sometimes got in the way for them, and some things didn’t get done. With five daughters, I can see how that happened. In fact, I only had two daughters, and I still have some film that has never been developed. It is a sad truth, that I hate to admit…but truth it is, nevertheless. My best laid plans, somehow always seemed to get mixed up. I was glad when they came out with the Polaroid camera, because it developed the film instantly. My pictures finally had a chance of being seen by my family. It was a great improvement for me and, I’m sure for many other people too.
Be that as it may, sometimes there are in this world, hidden treasures, that you come across when you least expect it. That is what has happened for my sisters and me. The hidden treasures I am talking about, are not in the form of silver or gold, but rather in pictures. As we have gone through our parents things following our mother’s passing, we have come across many pictures. We have reminisced, laughed, and yes, cried too, as we have looked at these great treasures from our past. It has been a healing time, but there was also a treasure that was so hidden, that it had never been seen by human eyes. We came across roll after roll of undeveloped film…some of it almost sixty years old. When we looked at the rolls of film, we really expected that there would be nothing we could do to save them, and there may indeed be some that are lost forever, but we have been amazed at how many are fine, and in reality they are of really good quality.
We have been having a wonderful time looking over just the few that our sister, Alena Stevens has forwarded to us, until we can get together to see them all. It is such a wonderful gift, to be given a part of our childhood that while we may remember it, we have never seen it in pictures. It’s a trip down Memory Lane, except that many of the “memories” are completely new to us…previously unseen memories. How rare it is to be given such a gift…such a treasure. I suppose that in retrospect, it might have been better to have developed the pictures before, so our parents could have seen them too. Nevertheless, that did not happen, and in this way, it is like a special little present that our parents left us. It is like a secret plan that they had, to leave us something that they knew would make us happy after they were gone, and believe me, we know just how amazing and special it is. And the really good news is that there are more pictures to come. I just hope that the rest of them turn out just as good as these did, so that we will have lots more hidden treasures left to us by our parents in the future. The gift that keeps on giving…forever.
Yesterday, after going out to dinner with my mom and my sister, Cheryl, we all decided to go for a drive. My mom has always loved going for drives, whether it is around town or in the country. As we drove, the conversation turned to the little house we lived in when we first moved back to Casper, Wyoming from Superior, Wisconsin, when I was almost three years old. I don’t recall having seen the house since the time we lived there, and of course, I don’t recall very much of our time there, and most of that is probably from home movies I have seen.
Since we were in the area, we decided to drive by. I must say that I was a bit surprised at how small the house was. I suppose it was the size of a small two bedroom apartment, or maybe even a one bedroom apartment. The house is located in the back yard of a larger house, and may have been, at one time, a guest house for the much larger home next door. Right now, it looks like it is being used as a storage shed, which makes me a bit sad, because when I think of all the memories of our little family that those walls have seen, it seems a sad end to a happy home. The white picket fence that made for a nice backdrop for pictures is gone now, the sidewalk and steps are crumbling, and the house is in serious need of a coat of paint…but then it is a shed now, so paint is unlikely.
As we drove away, I couldn’t get the little house out of my mind. It seemed such a sad, lonely little place. There were no children’s toys, or laughing voices. In fact, there was no signs of life at all. It is included in the yard of the larger house, which is very well taken care of, but it sits like a forgotten ghost, desolate and forlorn. I wished for a moment that I could go in and look around the little house, but I’m sure it would have been more disappointment, and less memories these days. It wouldn’t surprise me to drive by there and see it torn down someday, because it really is in sad shape and probably a hazard, were it not fenced off from the outside world, and certainly not a place of interest to anyone, except the three women who were taking a drive down memory lane.
Jacob, the son of my cousin, Denise DeVogel, who I recently met on Facebook, got busy the other day and in his play, he reminded many of the rest of us in the family about the fun things many of us did as kids. Jacob pushed the couch and chair in his mom’s living room together, covered them with a blanket, and…presto, he had a private little tent to camp out in. He has spent the last couple of days having a great time in that little tent. And his mom, Denise has had such a good time watching him have such a good time.
Looking at the picture she posted on Facebook, took me back to my own childhood, and the many tents my sisters and I made. We had such good times playing in the little shelter that the tent provided. Not that we needed shelter, but more a secret little place to hold our meetings, play games, have snacks, and pretend to go to sleep…not that any sleeping happened, unless we planned to camp out for the night like it seems was Jacob’s plan to do. The things that went on in those tents, were such a big deal when we were kids, and I suppose that everyone’s games were a little different, but we all thought that our little club meetings were a total mystery to our parents, not ever realizing that our parents were little kids once too, and they probably played many of the same games you did.
And it wasn’t just me who took a trip down memory lane while looking at the pictures of Jacob in his tent, because Denise’s friend, Karen commented, “How fun!! I remember doing that!!” Her words were exactly the ones that would have come out of my mouth, had she not beat me to it. It’s pictures like these that remind you of all the good things that define childhood. It’s the freedom to be creative, inventive, and yet silly, all rolled into one little person, that makes the whole scene so fun to watch. It makes me want to be a kid again…well, maybe not, but I could be a kid again for a day or maybe a week, so I could build a tent in the living room, and hold the little club meetings, or read a book, or camp out, and then I could step back into reality again, and take with me the little vacation memories I had in the tent in the living room. Thanks for the memories Jacob!!