Monday, July 9, 2018


Early 50s Color
[July 5 would have been my father's 117th birthday.]

The faded Kodachrome above was among the 100 or so of my family photos we brought back with us from California on our quick trip in May. Ms. Ché probably has quite a few more of her family and adventurous life photos to sort through.

The picture was taken in Santa Maria in 1951. I had a sudden flash of memory and recalled an address. Googling, I discovered the picture was taken on the front lawn of the duplex where my mother, sister and I lived at the time. I was three years old. My father had come to visit from Iowa. He was a lawyer. He always wore a suit. I don't remember him ever wearing casual clothes.

This particular visit is burned in my memory. My memory, however, is often faulty. What I don't recall are the other visits my father made to California after my parents divorced and my mother, sister and I moved back to my sister's birthplace, the town where my mother grew up. He apparently came out to California at least once a year between 1949 and 1951, and there are hints in some of my mother's letters to him that he visited more often in 1950 and 1951.

What I never knew until recently was that he had several siblings in California -- in fact, practically all of them had left Iowa and lived in California by 1951, including his older brother who lived in Santa Barbara, three sisters in the Bay Area, and two younger brothers in Los Angeles. Two sisters continued to live with or near my father in Iowa until their deaths.

I don't think he ever returned to California after that visit. I went to Iowa a couple of times later on, but I did not enjoy it. I can understand why so many of my aunts and uncles left and why my mother hated it.

No comments:

Post a Comment