Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Brass Box, Google Satellite & Memories

I'm going to now do what little sisters have done since time began -- blame my big brother! He started it!

This emotional exercise began for me a couple of weeks ago when Kevin, 10 years my senior, sent my mom and I some print outs of some Google Satellite images of different locations. The house above is 2967 Elmwood Avenue, Kenmore, New York, where my family lived when I was born, until we moved here to California in 1963--November 22nd to be exact, the day JFK was assassinated. There were some more shots which I will share with the appropriate friends, and another of my mother's childhood home on Mulberry Street. Above it are two shots of my closest playmates on Hampton Parkway, around the corner from the Elmwood house. Some of these folks are now Facebook friends, and I hope we chat about any memories they want to share.

When I pored over the photos Kevin sent, I was surprised at how overcome with emotion I was, and still am. my spare time, I've been rummaging through what is known in my family as "The Brass Box." It's on small casters, with dimensions of only 12" x 15" x 19". But it's a veritable vault, a time capsule. If the house burned down, I'd be challenged to gather my mom, the cat, AND The Brass Box. To let anything happen to it is unthinkable.

While looking through time-worn envelopes, some printed with "LEE'S DRUGS. BUFFALO'S HEADQUARTERS FOR CAMERAS, FILM, FLASHBULBS AND PHOTO SUPPLIES," I thought of that scene in the movie Beaches, where Barbara Hershey's character was frantically looking for a picture of her mother's hands. Even though I don't quite feel that level of urgency, I can relate to the preciousness of family photos more as I get older. I also think of times I've been to the Rose Bowl swap meet, and have seen tables with boxes of family photos...orphaned images, with no names, dates, or people who still find them valuable. So very sad. I'm determined, while Mom's still living, to go through our photos with her, and try to catalog and date those pictures that are not thus labeled. If I can help it, our family history is not going to end up in swap meet boxes!

For more views of my family history, take a look at my Facebook album, "From the Brass Box."

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