Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

December 3, 2013


Filed under: Childhood Memories,Family — Janice @ 12:02 am

Writing every day for the Holidailies puts the pressure on. Though I can think of dozens of things to write about when I am NOT at the computer, I get here and have the old writer’s block. Or every subject is too big, or too small, or needs research, or needs a picture.

So I just pulled out an old picture of a Christmas long ago and noticed so many things (but the crotch shot is, of course, the first).


This picture is in my grandmother’s living room. I would say it is about 1967. While I was assuming it was a Christmas photo, I guess there is nothing here to really indicate that it is Christmas. But, then again, why would someone take a picture of us if it weren’t a holiday? This was long before the camera was constantly in your face.

If you can’t tell, I’m holding Mr. Potato Head and “Mr. Orange Head” (if there was such a thing). I don’t think they were Christmas gifts. I think those were brought home to me as a treat when I was very sick. I think I got them when I was home with bronchial pneumonia for a week in second grade. They were never nearly as fun as the commercials made them out to be. But I wish I still had them!

What I do have still is that little blue suitcase on the left. I have it and my sister has the red one. We used those as our doll and toy cases for a long time. We probably even used them as a real suitcase for toiletries before we abandoned them to the attic. Mine is still full of doll clothes and who knows what. My sister and I found hers last year and found some photo negatives right after I had purchased a scanner that could scan negatives. And one of the negatives was one of my all-time favorite photos of myself. That was a bit of serendipity.

The little rocker was not ours and wasn’t a toy. It belonged to my grandmother and it usually had her china head doll sitting in it. We did take it over for our Barbies when we were there. Hanging on the chair is the greatest cape a Barbie ever had. I think my aunt sewed it for us. It was really nice. A pretty tweedy purple cloth with a silk lining and a little snap at the top so it wouldn’t fall off.

On the table between the chairs there is a pipe holder. Men just don’t have pipes and pipe holders anymore, do they? I know that is a good thing, but both my dad and my grandfather had one even though neither was a pipe smoker very often. It had places for your pipes to rest when not in use and you lifted off a lid and it had a place for your packets of tobacco and your tools for cleaning and packing the pipe. It was quite an art, I guess. I can’t stand the smell of a cigar, but I have fond memories of pipe smoke.

And up against the back wall is my grandmother’s vase collection. My sister has those shelves and most of the collection. I have at least one vase of Mamma’s. She had a little book with numbers and information on each vase and then little stickers with the number on each vase. The book has become separated from the vases, I think, but, like most collections, it doesn’t have the same meaning to anyone else that it had for my grandmother.

I wouldn’t say these were “fun” grandparents. They didn’t get in the floor and play or even play games with us, as far as I can recall, but we had lots of fun times in that living room playing on our own or with our cousins.

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