Life’s Turning Points

We take photographs now so throwaway casually. We may forget how even amongst all of those uncounted thousands – so many of which we simply delete – that there are those that may be extra-special. Some few may eventually develop a deeper resonance and longer-term poignancy for us.

Probably you have something similar in your family and amongst your friends. I was doing some tidying up around the house yesterday, and while doing so I once again noticed this photograph on the wall in our lounge. It is one of my all time favorite family photos because of all it represents:

My maternal grandparents (before they were married), 1935.
My maternal grandparents (before they were married), 1935.

Those are my future maternal grandparents on the day they met in 1935, in Brooklyn, New York. She was 17. He was 23 and played minor league baseball (in the Boston Red Sox organization) and also for his employer. (In those days, companies regularly sponsored baseball teams.)

Years ago I was told by my now late uncle, and it was also confirmed by my now late mother (my novelist uncle could weave “tall tales” so I was always careful about “family history” coming from him), that my grandmother had tried to grab the attention of “that handsome pitcher” at a previous game and failed. Not easily discouraged (and I suppose I should be FOREVER THANKFUL for that: I wouldn’t be here as I am had she been!), she turned up for this next game dressed to impress.

I love the way she’s standing there. She has her hand on her hip, striking a confident pose. His baseball uniform hasn’t changed much over the decades since, but she’s dressed in distinctive 1930s fashion.

She caught my future granddad’s eye this second time. We men can often be so predictable, can’t we? He has this look of, “Eh, I’m havin’ a good day.”

Pre-game she asked him to let a girlfriend of hers snap their picture. And indeed what a photo that unknown teen girlfriend took for us as a family. She will never know how grateful we are for it.

Excerpt from
Excerpt from “Passports.” Click to expand.

That grandmother I later got to know so well always looked sharp. She loved being in photos – and usually looked great in them. As a family we used to laugh that she would not have been out of place in 1930s/1940s Hollywood films.

What she would never live to know. As a 17 year old way back in 1935? I suspect she’d have gone absolutely crazy over Instagram and selfies. 🙂


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