Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Sense of Place, A Sense of Home

My Grandparent's backyard Sacramento,  Ca.
 Photo mid-to-late 1930' s
during the Depression & just before WWII begins

Who Took This Picture?

who took this picture, was it aunt marian? 
I know you two were inseparable
the recipe on this envelope, (you always wrote on scraps of paper)
you gave that to me many, many years after this picture was taken
-- though you would not known this back then

I would have liked to have seen you walk into this photograph
sit in that chair, straighten you gown,  my aunts fluffing it out at the bottom, 
looking all pretty, smiling, buzzing with anticipation 
what were you and my aunts gabbing about?
was grandma watching all this, 
what about uncle jack and uncle bill, where were they?
I pretty sure grandpa had left you all by then

I bet this was an exciting night for you all.
Just waiting for that knock at the front door so your night could begin.
Isn’t it funny how dad was just getting to know you and the family
but when "we" came into being years later, that step really doesn’t happen, 
no knock at the front door , we were just in

aunt barb told me about this dress in this picture that you had made
and how you would take it apart five more times, 
to re-make five more different dresses to “re-wow” dad on five more different dates
she said you all had no money, the depression I know
but you told me many times you still found ways to enjoy that time 
even though it was difficult
you often said to me " ... we didn’t need things we made our own fun"

she also told me about that “fake rabbit” fur coat in this picture
and that aunt marion loaned it to you for this dance
was this the night, it must have been that night 
were most of that fur ended up on dad’s suit
she told me how devastated you were,  
this was not the impression you were planning on leaving with him that night  was it?
... we laugh now, funny when your young, the way you think about these divined miss-haps
“I” wondered,  what aunt marian was thinking when you gave back her rabbit coat,  minus the fur

anyway (you always used this word),  before dad knew he would be wearing rabbit fur 
what did he say when he came to pick you up that night?
what did he say when he saw the beautiful girl he would be taking to the dance? 
you in your finished, flowing and glowing hand-made gown, 
lovingly made, especially with him in your mind and heart ...really ... your soul ...

there is this  one thing that was hard for me to image ... the both of you dancing  
I had never seen you both dancing together
when I think about this ... it’s really not that difficult to imagine at all
we did see you both dance and danced beautifully 
through your long lives together and luckily for all of us ... we saw that
aunt barb said dad was a fine dancer, I wish I could have seen that, but I know he was
aah ... why the envelope, with the recipe, with this photograph? ...
it's not the recipe that matters so much here, though it is wonderful
it’s your handwriting ... the calligraphy, your marks, your-own-hand
silly as this may seem, for some reason 
your handwriting helps me stay connected 
to this picture, to that day, to the dance, to those memories, to this moment 
and most important of all ... to you 
Happy Birthday! Mom - we Love you and Miss you.


  1. Happy Birthday Gramma! I miss you and meet you in my dreams all the time. I love you. Heather

  2. Beautiful, Heather ... Love you, Uncle Steve

  3. This is the most beautiful thing you've done, hands down. I love it!
    Please tell Heather that I dream about my Mom and meet her in my dreams all the time too. They will also be with us.
    Happy Birthday Mrs. Hayhurst. Thank you for having such a wonderful son.

  4. Thanks Roomie, really appreciate this. I will let her know, but I'm pretty sure she will see your comment.

  5. Oh Steve what a wonderful tribute. I love to recall the sisters and all the stories. growing up with all the aunties, uncles and cousins has given me lasting childhood memories and connections that continue to this day....My mom used to talk about the dedression years with fond memories even though the times were tough on everyone. And the recipe...I don't know who started it but I have it as passed on from my mom....just one more link in our lives. thanks for this posting Love you Jan

  6. Hey cousin we are very lucky to be part of this family through bad times and the good times Love you.