I am lost in old photos. Someone help me escape. This is a picture of my paternal grandparents, Tom and Grace Norris. The two children on the porch are my first cousins, Al and Grace Norris. The little boy directly behind my grandparents is my oldest brother, Jimmy. I can’t stop staring at their shoes. And I do stare at this picture a lot. I never seem to focus on their faces, though my grandfather looks a lot like my father, and I know my grandmother’s face to be unchanged from the time of this photo, (late nineteen forties to early fifties), to the time when I knew her. It’s the shoes that get me.
This is one of my favorites. On the left, my maternal grandparents. On the right, my aunt and uncle, and my parents, my mother’s arms crossed, her head turned toward my Uncle Ray, my father looking into the camera. In this photo, I stare at the tall trees, and at my grandfather Carl Buckalew, chin raised slightly.
This picture was taken the same day. Here, I stare at my grandmother, Birdie Lynn Buckalew. Her apron is askew, her jacket buttoned wrong, as if she was urged from the kitchen to pose, and hastily threw on something warm. I stare at my grandfather’s fingers, because when I knew him, he had lost parts of two fingers working at the sawmill.
My mother was about eighteen years old in this picture, holding her youngest sister on her lap. The other photo is my brother Jimmy when he was a boy.
Like I said, someone please stop me.