Uncropped Memories

Join me for a photo-inspired trip down memory lane.

A whole flood of memories washed over me when I paused to look at this scanned photo today. While so many of my generation “cropped” their photos to put them into elaborate scrapbooks, I’m glad I wasn’t artsy-crafty enough to enjoy that sort of activity and this photo survived totally intact. I’m reminded of so many special things from this era of my life as I look at all of the elements in this slightly fuzzy old photo. Join me as I play a little game of ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’ with this photo.

Story Time with Daddy – circa 1980

My ‘I Spy’ Memories

  • This photo was taken in our very first home on 49th Street in Milwaukee.
  • It was a tiny 2-bedroom, 1-bath bungalow-style house boasting about 600 square feet of living space. I’ve seen a more recent Zillow listing for this house stating it has 1,487 square feet. Unless they put on an addition, they must have counted the basement and the tiny rear entryway.
  • Wayne still had a Garfunkel-ish mop of curly hair. He would tell you that the hair on top of his head has migrated to his chin over the years.
  • I remember how much our kids loved it when their daddy would read a book to them because he made all the necessary silly voices for each character.
  • That classic sofa was a hand-me-down from my best friend’s mom. Betty Banner’s gift of her used sofa was a fancy-schmancy step up for us in the world of living room furniture, replacing a freebie imitation leather futon which threatened to slide you off onto the floor whenever you tried to sit on it.
  • The sewing machine was a birthday gift from my husband two months after we were married. [Note: I tell the story about this sewing machine here.]
  • I used that sewing machine to make the heart-shaped pillows on my sofa (definitely an 80’s thing), farm-themed curtains for the kids’ bedroom, and clothing for myself. You wouldn’t know it by looking at this photo, but I also made shirts for Wayne and Matt…and cute little dresses for Beth, who apparently wasn’t into wearing clothes on this particular day.
  • Money was tight, but Wayne and I splurged and bought the maple writing desk so I would have someplace other than the kitchen table where I could set up my sewing machine. I think that desk has since taken on a new life in our daughter’s house.
  • That coffee table is actually a toy box we bought at an unfinished furniture store. Wayne and I finished it together and now, more than 40 years later, it sits in front of a sunny window in our home with lots of houseplants on top. Sadly, I have only a vague recollection of what is in it.
  • That purse on the coffee table was a favorite. It rarely had money in it, but my greatest earthly treasures were sitting right there on that sofa.
  • The afghan on the sofa back was crocheted for me by my Grandma Peet. I remember her asking me what the colors were in my new home. I told her “earthtones,” because that was the trendy thing in the 70’s.
  • The ball-fringe curtains on the windows were purchased by my grandma too. I remember feeling like a wealthy woman because I had curtains from Country Curtains on my windows.
  • Wayne and I painted that table lamp together. It was one of two plaster casting-type lamps that we painted for our abode. The lamp tables were Wayne’s stereo speakers. I remember we spent more for the lampshades than we did for the lamps.
  • That avocado green carpeting was straight out of the 60’s and it butted up to the burnt orange vinyl tile flooring in the itty-bitty kitchen. Yeh, we were that cool.
  • That rocking chair was gifted to me by my husband after the birth of Matt. There was a heat vent on the floor right in front of that rocker. I would put my feet on that vent and the warm air would whoosh under my bathrobe as I rocked my fussy baby to sleep on cold nights. Memories of rocking both of my babies in that chair have kept me from parting with it as I now seek to “downsize”.

Thanks for joining me for my little reminisce down Memory Lane. I’m thankful for this nostalgic moment captured on film 40+ years ago.

4823 N. 49th Street – Milwaukee, WI

If I Could Have a Caregiver Do-Over

“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

James 4:14b (ESV)

God gave me the honor and privilege of taking care of my mother in the years that her mind waged war with Alzheimer’s. I am thankful that her brave battle with memory loss and frailty of body is over–the victory won as her affliction gave way to the ultimate healing when Jesus took her home to heaven.

My regrets are few, but if I could have a do-over of one caregiving thing, I think I would listen more carefully to the stories she told about her childhood. In my do-over, I would sit next to her more often looking through old photos, paying attention to the memories she shared. I would take care to write down all of the memories the photos coaxed from the places in her mind where the old stories still lingered.

With the help of my daughter, I did create a memory album for her, but it would have been nice had I started on the album sooner, capturing those stories for her to read and re-read as her memories slowly faded away.  

While I cannot roll back the hands of time, I do find joy in knowing she is free from the bondage of memory loss and frailty of body. I find hope in knowing that those precious moments we did share are only a glimmer of the immeasurable time we will share together in eternity.


This post was written for Five Minute Friday. One word. Five minutes to write about it. Today’s word: COULD

Photos – Preserving My Family Story

Baby Charlotte Louise Peet
My mother as an infant in 1934

Nearly three years ago, several large Rubbermaid bins filled with photo albums, loose photos, pictures in envelopes, boxes and tins made the move along with my mother from Milwaukee to Fitchburg. As time and energy allows, I am sorting through these photos – some of them from several generations before hers. Though it slows my progress a bit, Momma enjoys flipping through the photos and “helping” me sort them too.

Photos of mom’s childhood and early adult years will sometimes prompt a story or two. Alzheimer’s keeps her from remembering the name of the city where she had lived for the past 60 years, or even what she had for lunch, but she can remember the names of aunts and uncles she hasn’t seen in years, along with a few of the details of events from her childhood. Continue reading “Photos – Preserving My Family Story”

Peonies: A Father’s Day Memory

A summer thunderstorm knocked off the petals of most of the lovely peony blooms last night. Thankfully, a few tightly closed buds hold promise of beauty yet to unfurl in this summer’s peony finale. As the peonies fade in their glory and prepare for curtain call and their final bow, the daylilies in their own splendidly colorful petaled costumes stand in the wings ready to take center stage and continue the summer’s floral show.

I’m excited for that show too, but I so wish the peony extravaganza would last a little longer! It’s so hard to say goodbye to the peonies each year.  Continue reading “Peonies: A Father’s Day Memory”

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