Did she imagine meeting the gentle man that was my grandfather? The man who sits beside her in the Thanksgiving picture?
She had so much future that to me is invisible past, yet I keep looking in her eyes in hopes of finding it.
|George Emil and Carrie Julia Rose Schneeloch|
I was five years old that Thanksgiving, but I remember Alvin taking this picture as well as one of my parents at the same spot in front of the living room window on Lancaster Street. This is how I remember my grandmother--the tightly curled hair, the rimless glasses, the half smile. I have more memories of my grandfather who came to live with us just a year later when my grandmother died. She was 68 years old in this photo. I am taken a bit aback when I realize she is three years younger here than I am now.
I remember her too at their home on Allen Street where on overnight visits she read to me on the porch, made vanilla pudding with orange slices, tucked me into my father's childhood bed at night. I remember Mr. and Mrs. Prouty and their friends who came to play bridge. There were lots of card games on the heavy brown metal card table that now is folded next to the computer in my office.
I have many other pictures of her too. There is the one of the young mother in the white dress holding the baby that was my father.
Even earlier there are pictures of her and her brother Frank dressed in their Sunday clothes posing for a photographer in West Springfield whose name remains on the photograph but whose address no longer exists.
I look into those young eyes and try to see what she saw all those years ago at the end of the 19th century. Could she see what amazing things would happen in her lifetime?
I try to see what she expected of her future. Did she imagine marrying on New Year’s Eve of the new century? I’m sure she never imagined that she would be a widow by the following spring.