Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Saturday, March 13, 2010

A LITTLE SPRING CLEANING: FINDING OLD PHOTOS

Just a little. I'm not much of a housekeeper, but I did begin going through some old photographs that I keep in various boxes, some framed, but most not, and came across several that drew me up short, made me wonder what time is all about, and how it has its way with us. (This was posted last spring before I was able to scan photos....my apologies.) This is a small photo of my grandmother, Marion Fry Stripling Bailey. She had two husbands; my grandfather died when my dad was 11 or so, of pneumonia, and she re-married. I wish the sharpness were better, so that you could see the expression on her face. She was quite elegant in her youth and a rarity in those days--a well-educated woman who read Latin, poetry, Nostradamus, treatises on Phrenology, Palmistry, and all sorts of other things. She also sewed for her family and kept the household together through the depression. And, oh yes, she was a teacher for several years. The photo below, another small, small image, is my father in his high school graduation regalia. He was a smart one. Can't you tell by that ironic smile? This was taken outside our big house on the farm. The window just behind his head is the one I woke up to in the morning, before we moved my bed to the other side of the room. When my maternal grandparents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, the photo below was taken at the banquet. It hangs in our hall and was getting pretty dusty. I took it down to dust and decided to photograph it for my blog followers. Ulmont and Carrie Mae Campbell lived on the farm that I've written so much about. They survived the Depression, with six children to feed and numerous animals, including the mules I so detested. The yard was full of chickens and turkeys. And plenty of petunias, lantana, and huge, chomping grasshoppers. The two photos I really wanted to find were nowhere in this group--a head shot of my grandmother in a lace mantilla and me at my third birthday party, in a long organdy dress, sitting on the table beside my birthday cake. When those turn up, I'll let you know. I did find this photo, though, of me and my daughter at her third birthday party. She's wearing the dress I made for the occasion. I've boxes more to comb through, looking for treasures, those images that call the past back again and again, even as I stand in the kitchen at 4:00 in the afternoon, hearing the dogs barking outside for their supper, knowing I need to put these old photos aside and get back to my numerous kitchen duties. I'll let the other boxes wait till tomorrow. A woman's work is never done, true? And remembering is important work.

8 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

Love that first one especially. And I wonder who it is in the photo on the table?

destrella said...

Love looking through old photos and the stories they tell. :O)

Jessie Carty said...

i love looking through old photographs. i drove a dear friend of mine a bit nutty i think because i was obsessed with watching her dance recital videos :)

i love the picture of you and your daughter. that is such a sweet little dress.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Vicki, I wonder who that is in the photo. I've been taken with this photo of my grandmother for years. I love the way she is posed on that chair. So elegant.
Oh my, destrella, I could spend days going through old photos, studying each one, letting the stories rise up. I never tire of them. Nor do you, dear Jessie. That dress drove me crazy so many years ago, but I was determined to sew it in time for my daughter's birthday!

Vagabonde said...

Decades ago I had a couple of old photo albums I had brought back with me from France. I lost them around 1985. I looked for them so many times, but they never turned up. Until last week. My husband was moving old boxes in the garages, one was full of old blankets I wanted to give away and the box fell over. In the bottom was a blanket wrapped around something – it was my 3 old photo albums! The photos survived the years OK. I saw one I did not even remember, me with a little boy. Then I remembered the story about this photo. I shall make a post about it soon. I collect vintage postcards. Some of the postcard dealers sell old photos. I have purchased quite a few along the years. I look at them and wonder what was life like for these people. Those I buy are usually from around the beginning of the 1900s with women with large hats.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vagabonde, thank you for this story of discovery, in the midst of what you thought was lost. I lose a lot of things and try to have faith that they will turn up in due time....not always easy to accept. But it happened for you, so maybe for me, too? The image of women in large hats makes me want to do a post on them. I wore small hats when I was young, but I always wanted large ones, with ribbons fluttering in the wind.
I'll look forward to your post about the photo of you with the little boy. So good to have you drop by...

Charlotte said...

Family photos always make me think of a John Crowe Ransom poem, about age being the great leveler, and how the young believe they'll be young forever, and how no one has ever loved so much, or yearned so hard, as they do now.

Glenda Council Beall said...

I love going through old photos and yours on this blog are lovely.
I lost several boxes of slides my husband made years ago, but recently I discovered them and I want to put them on disc, but that is time consuming. Many of these were made when we were newly married and they document our families from the early sixties until the eighties, I believe. So many memories, so many wonderful times with family that is gone now.
But what a treasure to spark our writing.