Friday, April 10, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

This is my father's mother. I do not know how old she is or when this photo was taken. To me, she was always Baachan, which is Grandma in Japanese. The photo was taken at Fukui Studio in Stockton, CA.

This is my Baachan & Jiichan and more like I remember them. This was not my father's father, but my Baachan's third husband. According to family lore, my father's father was a gambler and died of appendicitis. I don't think I knew about any of that as a child so Jiichan was my Jiichan and that was that.

This picture is dated 12-16-72. It is a picture in our new backyard. My parents bought a house in the suburbs and we moved from Culver City to the Valley. My Jiichan was a gardener and landscaped the entire backyard. They had a prolific garden at their own house on Centinela in West LA. It was lush with fruit trees, gardenias, camellias, orchids, a vegetable garden, a koi fish pond, and lawn of dichondra. They took meticulous care of their garden, especially the dichondra. I believe they weeded that lawn every day.

They both died when I was a teenager. I was sixteen years old when my Baachan died and my Jiichan passed a couple years later. My father moved to Hawaii shortly after my Baachan died and disappeared soon after that. I haven't seen or heard from him since that time. Unfortunately with the passing of my grandparents and my father missing in action, a whole side of family history is lost. Baachan really was the glue that held the family together and with her passing everyone floated away. I wish as a kid I had asked more questions and had the wherewithal to keep in touch with my uncles, aunts and cousins. Now they are lost too. For being such a smarty pants as a teenager, I was still just a kid. What I wouldn't do now to talk to her over a heaping plate of hamburger curry (my favorite dish that she made me every time I saw her).

So I guess, the lesson to be learned is to talk to your loved ones now. I find in my own family experience that we take each other for granted because we are a constant in each others lives. Their existence is such a part of your own that some of the details of their separateness, their individuality, their life before you came along are looked over. I am not sure if I am making myself clear, but what I want to say is become a documentarian for your family, ask the obvious and the obscure questions, look at photos together, and share the stories. If you are getting together with loved ones this weekend you have the perfect opportunity to learn something new about someone, exchange memories, and create new photo ops!

I am loving Vintage Photo Friday for this opportunity to remember and share.
More VPF here.

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