When I was perhaps twelve, my dad and I were in a discussion, subject no longer recalled. My dad said he had something in his trunk that would illustrate the subject. We went to the bedroom off the living room and he pulled a grey, wooden trunk from the closet.
The bedroom was my brothers', and although I had prowled every other closet and drawer of the house, this was new to me. I never messed around in "there". The trunk had been my dad's when he was a seaman, he explained. I knew all about Sparks and his adventures, and waited to see what he was after.
He handed me an envelope of pictures and kept on digging. The envelope was for some other purpose, and pretty full. I asked to look at them and he said I could. The first out the the envelope:
That's my dad on the right. I was shocked. I turned it for my dad to see. He snatched the picture and the envelope, put the trunk away and that was the end. I never saw the picture again until about five years ago, when my brother-in-law was sorting out my brother's accumulation out in the barn. There was the very same envelope, and in my dad's handwriting, my name.
That's Uncle Taps on the left, my dad's mother's youngest brother, at their first communion, twelve years old. My dad broke bitterly and completely with the church, which may account for his reaction to the picture. I date that picture 1918 or 1919, five years before dad left home for the Army.
My dad on a picture postcard mailed September 28, 1907, so he was thirteen months.
This picture of our dad and Uncle Bill is a favorite. I date it about 1910, when dad was three. Mom said dad always looked like an old man in his young pictures. You judge.
Dad is bottom row, left, shirt and tie. The picture is dated 1912, so he is five years old, and first year of school.
Primary school, 1913. Dad is in the white shirt and tie, back row, teacher's end. Dad is six.
I cannot identify any of the girls in this photo. Dad has the cap, and I guess it's also 1913, six years old.
And a picture of my dad from the late forties, early fifties, just for comparison. Dad had a very difficult childhood; pictures ended at that first communion picture. He mostly grew up in the Children's Home, until he reached age 17. One week later, he was enlisted in the Army.