Friday Photo Flashback

This is a “feature” I started a while ago with a Daily Writing Prompt, and I have enjoyed it so much, I have decided to keep doing it. This week – two for the price of one. I guess the common theme to these pictures is that they are both taken at my grandma’s house and they both contain … a couch.

It is hard for me to tell which photo is older. They look to have been taken relatively close together age-wise. I know that both of these pictures were favorites of my grandmother, the first one especially.

Photo #1 – Sleepers

In the first photo, I am wearing “sleepers.” I remember always having them for some reason. I was probably 4 or 5 when I finally wore pajamas without the “feet” in them. One thing I hated about them was that your feet were always hot and sweaty! URGH!!! Parents must have always worried about their kid’s feet getting cold because even after I started wearing pajamas where the feet were free to breathe, I always seemed to have a pair of slippers on or close by!

That awful yellow couch had an ugly green chair that matched it. I remember the fabric being sort of rough and it always made noise when you sat on it. It reminded me of corduroy pants and the noise they made when you walked in them. At some point, my folks inherited the couch (maybe the chair, too) and it wound up in our basement.

Just to the right of the blue pillow in the photo, I can see the three chains that held the weights of the cuckoo clock I can still hear in my head. In the upper right of the picture you can barely make out the handle to grandma’s fridge, which was always contained a carton of Half and Half (which she called “milk”), eggs, and cans of Altes beer. The stove is to the left of that and on the far wall the sink. There was always a yellow water cup – the yellow matched the color of the couch!

Coincidentally, my sleepers seem to match the cup and couch, too! My grandma used to laugh out loud when she’d see this picture because of how my leg is cocked. I really don’t know if this is the way I always stood around, or if this was a lucky candid snapshot, but it kinda makes me chuckle, too!

Photo #2 – cool and relaxed

The second photo actually makes me laugh out loud. Look at the attitude I am exuding in it! I know for a fact that I will still stand this way today. It isn’t odd to see me with my hand or arm up against a wall or something and my feet positioned with one crossed over the other. It’s obvious that I have been doing that for a long time.

It would not surprise me if that outfit was made out of corduroy! It sure looks like it. I would also wager a guess that those shoes I am wearing are Stride Rite shoes. My brother and I both had a pair. When my oldest boy was born, my mom made sure he had a pair too! I’m not sure that they were ever “bronzed” like my dad’s baby shoes were, though it is entirely possible.

My hair is a mess in both pictures and it’s odd to compare them because it seems that my hair is going one way in one photo and the other way in the other one. I really don’t know what the “lip pout” is about in this picture, but it seems I am pondering something.

What’s interesting about this picture is that it is taken in the front room of my grandma’s house. This was an “off limits” room for us. We just never played in there. We weren’t even really allowed to sit on the furniture in there. So why am I in there? Can’t tell you.

That couch I remember clear as day! There was at least one chair that matched it, maybe two. What I remember most about it was that it was on wheels, one of which you can see in the photo. The chairs had those wheels, too. If you were fooling around on them, they would move fairly easily. If that happened, my grandpa’s OCD would kick in and he would come in and put the chair back in it’s exact place – making sure the wheels went back into the spots by them in the carpet.

I remember those terrible pillows, which were obviously just for decoration, because they were scratchy as hell to the touch. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever wanting to sleep on one. If memory serves me right, there was an end table at each end of it. They would have had big ugly lamps on them and may have looked something like this:

Almost everyone had end tables that looked like that in the 70’s!!

The painting above the couch is one I recognize, but it may have been replaced with another as I got older. I went through some other photos and actually found one with the whole thing. I’m not sure exactly where this is supposed to be, maybe Hawaii? I don’t know, but it was almost as long as the couch!

I don’t want to sound like an egotistic jerk, but these two photos of me are among my top ten favorites. They bring back some good memories. It may seem weird to say, but as I look at them, I can almost smell the stale cigarette air that hung in every room of my grandma’s house. I’m sure that wherever those couches may reside today, they almost assuredly reek of Lucky Strike and Kool cigarettes!

Cuckoo for Cuckoo Clocks

Sonny, the Cuckoo Bird

If I am being completely honest with you, I have no idea what brought up the topic of today’s blog! It certainly didn’t come about because of a Cocoa Puffs commercial! I guess it was just one of those random memories that popped into my head earlier today.

Every Sunday, my brother, my father, and I went to my grandparents house for dinner. For as long as I can remember, she had a cuckoo clock on the wall. Before blogging I meant to ask my brother if he had a picture with the clock in it, but never got around to it. I remember it being quite a simple clock. It wasn’t too big, but wasn’t real small either.

Apparently, a cuckoo clock can come in all sizes. Notice the huge one next to this guy in a picture I found online –

I was amazed at some of the detail in some of those clocks! They are truly amazing!! Below are pictures of clocks which are closest to how I remember her clock looking.

Three things about the above pictures stand out. First, I remember grandma’s clock had Roman numerals on the face. While searching for images, the ones with real numbers looked odd to me. Second, I remember the weights attached to the chains. Every morning, my grandpa would walk over and pull the weights back up to the bottom of the cuckoo clock. As the clock works throughout the day, the weights move down toward the floor and you have to pull them back up with the “winding chains.” Finally, I remember the pendulum. In the pictures I found, the all seem to be leaves. I don’t recall if grandma’s was a leaf or not. I do remember it clicking or ticking as it swung back and forth.

As kids, I remember my brother and I waiting for the top of every hour. It was then, that the cuckoo bird would come out “cuckoo” the number of what time it was and retreat back in the door. After that, the clock would play a musical song. I don’t know what the name of the song was, but I can hum most of it from memory with about 85% accuracy. It may sound stupid, but I actually watched clips of cuckoo clock songs on YouTube hoping one of them might be the one from grandma’s clock! no such luck!

Frankenmuth is very close to where I live. The town is often referred to as Little Barvaria. If you are German, you need to visit there. It is just amazing. There is a clock company in Frankenmuth that sells cuckoo clocks. I may have to drive up there and stroll through to see if I can find one that plays the same song as grandma’s.

In Frankenmuth, Michigan

Here are just some of the cuckoo clocks in store….

Frankenmuth Clock Company – Cuckoo Clocks

Years later, my grandma moved in with my folks because of the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. My folks built a dormer on their house for her. In the main living area of the dormer, grandma had yet another cuckoo clock. The one on the wall there was white and a lot smaller than the one I remember. I don’t even really recall what happened to the original one, but I wish I had it.

By the way, a real cuckoo bird looks nothing like the Cocoa Puffs, cuckoo….