This bookshelf stands next to the bed in Opa and Lou’s guest room.
Had I not opened the first photo album… and the second… and the third… and the twentieth, I might have gotten some much-needed sleep this weekend.
Instead, I stayed up till the wee hours on all three nights of my visit, transported to another time and place with each photo, exploring my family’s past – from the very distant past to the not so distant past. With no scanner available, I could only take photos of the photos, but now I have them, and they already feel priceless.
First I explored photo albums filled with the results of Mom’s detailed exploration into her genealogy. There are a hundreds pages in that album; here are just a few:
Mom’s family coat of arms:
Mom’s family made hats in Straubing, Germany. This is from the celebration of 225 years. Now that’s what I call a family business!
Apparently, my mother’s family had to prove their Aryan descent in 1936. This is that “proof.”
My great-grandfather left Straubing and opened a hat shop in Traunstein, Bavaria, Germany -- Mom’s home town.
This is that hat store late in the 19th century.
Mom’s father, Max, took over the business early in the 20th century.
There’s now a “dollar store” at this location. How sad.
This is my grandfather, Max, the body builder!
This is the only photo I know of with both my maternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather:
And then there’s Dad’s family albums!
This is my paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather and their house in Chemnitz:
My grandmother was married to a part-Jew. That served to protect the family, to some extent, from Nazi persecution. That’s my dad, in the middle. (Pretty dang cute, eh?)
And just because I can’t resist, here’s another photo of my dad as a little kid. I wish I’d known him then!
I never met “Tante Adele,” my father’s favorite aunt, but word has it that she had piercing sky blue eyes. You can almost see the color in this black & white photo!
Dad’s bookshelf wasn’t only filled with old photos of people I never met, they were also filled with people I know and love: Like Mom and Dad:
And my favorite – a picture I’d never seen before:
There were photos of my parents with me that I’d totally forgotten about:
Some with my parents and their grandchildren:
Some of Tom and me as young parents:
And quite a few of our kids that I’d completely forgotten about:
I need to completely ignore the magical bookshelf tonight because the airport shuttle will arrive just a few short hours from now, at 4 AM, to take me away from Ashland, where I finally began to really relax today and back to my current reality, which is so very far away from relaxing!