Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A tour through my “Old Pictures” folder

A few years ago my brother Michael amassed photos of our parents’ young lives as well as of our shared childhood.  He created CDs for my parents and siblings that year and gave them to us for Christmas. Although I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, I’ve come to covet this CD.

This might be totally yawn-producing for you, but hey – it’s today’s post.  Bear with me, enjoy, or click the X… it’s totally up to you!


This is my parents’ campsite from the early 50’s, before I was born.  Not sure if it was in Germany or America; I’d guess America. Look at the car!

and see all the people!

This is my (ever so foxy, dontcha think?!) dad, playing the “Church and Steeple” finger game with my brother Michael.  Dad is now almost 81 and Michael is 57.


This is Mom blowing lederhosen-clad “Mickey-Michael’s” nose.  My parents and Michael immigrated to America in 1953 – probably shortly after this picture was taken, obviously in Germany.

Seefeld 52

My aunt Ulli and Mom, waxing (?) their skis in Seefeld, Germany in 1952.  Interesting skis… interesting car… interesting clothes!


This is my mom’s uncle, Willi Merkl, who died climbing in the Hamalayas in the early 30s.  There’s a street named after him in Traunstein, Bavaria, my mom’s hometown.


This is my dad at the age of five.  Looking at this picture, I just want to mommy him.  Now THAT is weird!

tomandedith Mom &Dad Wedding 1

These are my parents’ wedding pictures, taken in July, 1952.  At their 50th wedding anniversary, my brother insisted on doing a toast about this day because, as he says, he “was there.”  Scandalous!


This is my maternal grandfather, Max.  He’s a damn good-looking Bavarian dude, isn’t he?!


And this is my paternal grandfather, Carl.  He was a German-Jewish banker.  More is written about him here.  It’s a fascinating story!


This is my dad arriving in America to begin a new life!


This is the house I grew up in, in Berkeley.  (Before it looked like the pictures in this post…)


This my mom graduating from Cal in 1968, amid massive riots and student activism.  It was a very different place in 2006 when Elisabeth graduated from Cal!


This is me with my three brothers, in about 1962.  (Yes, the same brothers as in this picture…


…taken last month!)


Here we are again, conserving water.


This picture of me must have been taken before I was 18 months old.  How do I know that?  Because I still had two thumbs on my right hand (look closely!).  One of those was removed when I was 18 months old – and yes, it still looks odd now and yes, I’m still self-conscious about it!


This is one of my favorite pictures of me as a little kid because I look really happy and because I’m with my mommy.

Carol at 4 ponderingsmall

…as opposed to this one, in which I look kinda snooty and stuck-up!


Here’s the question: did I wear a dirdl dress voluntarily?  Or did Mom force me to wear it?  I don’t remember… so that must mean I wasn’t traumatized by it, right?


There’s another dirdl!  I must have been traumatized!


My mom loved this photo.  One year, about 10 years ago,  she even gave a copy of it to all her kids for Christmas!  Isn’t it odd that she’s the only one who looks really good in it?


Fast forward a few years…


…and a WHOOOOLE lot more… like 30 more.  Until after Mom died and Dad fell in love with Lou (whom I adore too) -- and we are still proud to call ourselves a family.

And really, it’s ALL happened in just a proverbial blink of an eye.

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Home's Jewels said...

Those pictures are great. What year did your father come to the States? I was surprised to see that pic in color and so very clear. I guess my family had bad cameras and at least half of ours are in B&W until the mid sixties.

Your house in Berkeley reminds me of my grandparents' old home on the hills in Oakland. I miss that old house!

honeypiehorse said...

These are really wonderful. You guys used to look really German back in the day. The B&W one with the whole family is gorgeous, i totally see your mom's point.

christina said...

Very sweet pictures and quite similar to some of our family pictures since my dad is Austrian (emigrated to Canada in 1954). I alternated between my lederhosen and my dirndls all the time when I was a kid in Vancouver and just look where I ended up! :-)

jenni said...

I LOVED all these photos! What a lovely bunch of people you folks are...

Tonya said...

These are GREAT! I'm wondering: what prompted your folks to come to America? This has me hankering to find some time to hunt down and scan my family photos... (Most would be in B&W!)

Carol said...

Thanks everyone!

Julie -- they came to the US in 1953. And our house was a stone's throw from the Oakland Hills!

Tonya -- I think that my dad being a "mischling German Jew" (that is, part Jewish) and his experiences around that had a lot to do with it. Plus, there was the whole post-war, "good life in America" thing. As much as my parents loved it here for a good 30 years, I think that in the past 9 or so years, they've been disenchanted and wondered if they'd made the right choice. Obama's election did a lot to quell that and I believe my dad is hopeful again.

It was odd when we went with him to Germany: locals pegged him for an American... while in America, he is definitely pegged as a German. He must feel a bit like a man without a country!


Goofball said...

old pictures are really precious...don't worry this post didn't make me yawn! I find it interesting to see you all growing up, guessing the stories behind, comparing the traits in your face with those of your family :)

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