This week marked the 29th anniversary of the passing of my grandfather. In 2018, I wrote a blog about him on his birthday. You can read it here:
My dad sent a photo to me and my brother this week of my Great Grandma (Grandpa’s mom) that I’d never seen before. That got me to thinking about the last time I saw my Great Grandma. It was at my high school graduation party where today’s photo was taken.
This is a truly amazing photo, as it marked one of the few times all of these family members were together.
In the front row from left to right – me, my Great Grandma, and my brother (sporting the pink Miami Vice jacket). In the back row from left to right – Grandpa P, his sister Marietta, Grandma D, Mom, Dad, Grandma P, and my Great Aunt Rose.
This photo was probably taken close to the end of the part, as my dad and grandpa have their suit jackets off. My grandpa came wearing what we called his Century 21 coat. For those who don’t remember, the real estate agents from century 21 used to always wear these gold colored jackets.
Here is a story about my Great Grandma that still makes me laugh. We used to call her “Light Finger Louie” because she had a very bad habit of swiping things from people and then giving then to my Grandpa. They weren’t necessarily big or expensive things (most of the time), but there were watches, Zippo lighters, cuff links, and such that would miraculously appear in my grandfather’s hands (or pockets) as he was leaving his visits from Great Grandma!
I think the saddest thing about finding old photos like these is the realization that those people are no longer with us physically. The only ones still around in that photo are my brother, my dad, and me.
I get ribbed a lot about all the photos I take of the kids. This week on Facebook, when I posted about my grandpa, I stated that the reason I take so many pictures is “because one day those pictures, and the memories from them, are all we have left.”
It’s been a few weeks since I have done one of these posts. I neglected to write about a pretty big event this week, so let’s go back 21 years ago.
My oldest son, Dante’, was born 21 years ago this week. It is so hard to believe that it has been that long. They say that when you have kids time moves a bit faster. I have four children now and I can tell you that the more kids you have, the faster the time goes!
This photo was taken at the hospital just after he was born. What is special about this picture is that my mom and my grandma are also in it. He was my mom’s first grandchild and my grandma’s first great grandchild.
My mom slept in the waiting room on very uncomfortable chairs waiting the arrival of my son. She refused to leave. We did not know the sex of the baby and mom was really sure it was going to be a girl. It didn’t matter that the baby was a boy, because she was madly in love with him at first glance!
She and my former mother in law were the first to see him. I was pushing him to our room in the rolling bassinette (seen above) accompanied by a nurse. My mom thought she saw me in the hall and the two of them ran to see. Sure enough, they both got a peak at their grandson.
I love the picture above because you can see the awe in my face. You can see the joy and curiosity in my mom’s face and the sheer happiness on my grandma’s face. I also love that my mom’s arm is around my grandma. The two of them didn’t always see eye to eye, but the birth of my son brought them together here.
Both mom and grandma have passed away. The short time that my mom got with my son gave her more strength as she fought those last years of her battle with breast cancer. No matter how much she hurt, no matter how sick she may have felt, she never passed up an opportunity to see him. He gave her a reason to fight harder. They had a very special bond.
All these years later, my son still speaks of her. I don’t think there has been a year that he doesn’t stop at the cemetery near her birthday or the anniversary of her passing. She would be SO proud of him.
I know I am very proud of him. He is officially a MAN now. I worked on his birthday, and I am hoping to be able to get together with him to share an official “toast” to him. I had to laugh because he went to Olive Garden on his birthday and he had his first glass of wine. I asked how he liked it. “Eh, it was ok. It was a bit much.” I told him, “Well, you can’t drink it like you drink milk or water, you have to sip it!” He told me, “Yeah, I found that out the hard way.”
Ella wanted to wish him a happy birthday and so we made sure to video chat with him on his birthday. She said, “You’re gonna be 21!” Dante’ reminded her that he was now 21 and she just repeated herself. She loves her big brothers.
It’s been quite a journey for him and he has come so far in his 21 years. He will continue to grow and mature. He is going to do great things. He is one of the kindest and loving people I know. He is funny and loves to laugh. I see a lot of me in him. Sometimes, when I hear him talking to me, I actually can see myself talking to my dad. It’s crazy.
Welcome to another edition of the Friday Photo Flashback feature! This time around we go back to 1988 (and 1999).
In the past it has been fun for me to find a picture and examine the things in the background. The picture I have chosen really doesn’t allow me to do that, because there’s not really anything more than some of my favorite people.
In going through photos, I came across one from my graduation party and it made me smile and sad at the same time.
The photo above features from left to right: Papa Joe, my Uncle Tom, my dad, my grandpa, and Mr, Kanne.
What I love about this picture is the connection to another picture, which connects some friendships. Look at the photo below, which I may have posted on here in the past. It was taken at my first wedding in 1999:
I think it is extremely cool that the two photos are almost identical in that Papa Joe is on the left in the top picture and his son, Joe, is on the left in the bottom photo. Mr. Kanne is on the right in the top picture and his son, Steve, is on the right in the bottom picture. My dad is in the center in the top picture and I’m in the center (center-left) in the bottom picture.
(In the wedding photo: Joe, my brother Chris, Me, Steve, Jeff, and Steve)
Sadly, in the top picture, my grandpa, my uncle and Mr. Kanne have all passed away. My uncle and Mr. Kanne are buried in the same cemetery as my mom and are not that far from each other. I often stop at all three graves when I am there.
Collectively in those photos are 10 men who all played (and continue to play) important roles in my life.
On a humorous note, I can’t help but think that both photos look like a police line up …
Welcome to the first Friday Photo Flashback of 2023. Every once in a while I will be looking for a particular picture and stumble on another. That is the case with today’s featured picture. I came across it while I was searching for a picture from yesterday’s blog.
I truly do not know a lot about this picture. If I had to guess, I would say I am 3 or 4 years old here.
I know that this was taken in Grandma and Grandpa D’s back yard. Whoever took the photo is standing directly in front of the sliding patio door. Directly behind me would be my grandparent’s house. Right up against it was an ugly green metal rocker/couch. It had metal holes in it shaped like squares and you’d get up with the imprints of them on the back of your legs.
To my left in the photo and on the other side of the picnic table, I can see the popular lawn furniture of the era! Remember those aluminum chairs with the straps?
Everyone had these and they were the chairs of choice before the fold up ones everyone uses today. Someone is sitting in the chair in front of the picnic table in the photo. I wish I knew who it was. If I had to guess, it is probably my grandma. Of course, it could be my mom or even my great grandma.
The table is obviously made up for some sort of outdoor dinner or lunch. It looks like 8 plates are set. Grilled burgers or hot dogs, perhaps? I only say that because it looks like a bottle of ketchup on the table next to some red and white napkins.
The bowl at the end of the table looks like a Tupperware bowl. It is anyone’s guess as to what is in the bowl, but I would say that if was the turquoise colored Pyrex bowl, it would have been grandma’s marshmallow fruit salad. I always seem to remember it being in that bowl.
The picnic table was there as long as I can remember. I also remember that wooden half privacy fence. In later years, when I would go to cut grandma’s grass, I remember it starting to fall apart.
It looks like there might be a pack of cigarettes at the end of the table. I may be wrong. I thought it might be Marlboro, but upon looking at the packaging, there are not two red areas on the pack.
Then I thought about how much my grandma loved playing Gin. She may have even played bridge. Maybe they played pinochle. I don’t know, but it could very well be a deck of cards on the table.
I admit I had to take a minute to think about my grandparent’s back yard. What else do I remember? My aunt had a swing set back there. I’d have to ask my aunt if she remembers more, because I could be wrong. I want to say that it looked like this:
For some reason, I can’t recall if it had the bench swing (on the right) or the two seater thingy (on the left) or both. For some reason I remember a tree being close to the swing set, maybe up against one of the ends.
I also remember a rose bush up against the back of the house which often yielded pink or white roses. It may have been right up against the chimney. I know there were also rose bushes on the side of the house.
The one thing I remember most about my grandma’s back yard was that there was a huge fence along the back. There was a swinging gate that opened and closed which led to a cemetery! We didn’t go in there much, but there were times we did. I think my aunt used to tell my brother and I spooky stories about going back there. All I know if I was never out back when it was dark! Even when I was older, I made sure to be there early enough to mow before it got dark!!
This is one of those instances where I wish I could take the picture and “uncrop” it! I would love to see more of the back yard and I would love to see who is sitting there with me.
It’s time for another Friday Photo Flashback. As we get closer to the Christmas holiday, I picked another Christmas photo to look at. It is from 1974.
I found this on a hard drive. I am guessing that it is a scan that my brother did of some of the photos from my aunt. My Aunt Jodi and I are 4 years apart. This photo was taken on Christmas Day in 1974. My aunt and I are featured in the picture.
There are a few reasons I chose to feature this particular picture. First of all, I do not remember it. As I said, it had to be one my grandmother took. I don’t recall seeing it in an albums at my house, or in any batch of digital scans from my dad.
Next, it takes me right back to my grandma’s living room. Where the Christmas tree is, my grandpa’s rocking chair was usually there. Next to it, or on the wall next to it (which was a half wall as I recall) was where my grandpa kept his cabinet phonograph.
Those things were awesome! He had many big band albums, and one with Harry Belafonte singing in concert. He always played the song about a hole in the bucket or something.
The fireplace was a real fireplace as I remember. I may have only witnessed one real fire in it growing up. I recognize the red candle that is behind me and to my right in the picture. Grandma had that for at least a few years. I am four in this picture, but it is in the same spot in another Christmas picture from their house when I was 2.
I love the mess of open boxes and wrapping paper all over the place in the picture. It is a bit too blurry to tell what some of the toys in boxes are, but that army jeep was probably my gift. This may have been the year I got a GI Joe Doll. The GI Joe came with a small hand grenade. This must have been years before anyone worried about kids choking on things, because it was quite small. It was so small that my brother stuck it in his nose and it got stuck! I know that required a trip to the ER to have it removed! The more I think about it, he may have stuck it in his ear, I don’t know.
UPDATE: My brother was able to zoom in a bit on the picture and told me that the box behind me is actually a Weebles set! Sure enough, here is the box!
I’m not a fan of the buzz cut that I am sporting, but it was a favorite haircut of my folks. I had them often. I also don’t know what to make of the outfit I am wearing. Wow! The 70’s sure had some crazy patterns on pants! Even my aunt’s pants look like something you’d see on an old golfer.
I really have no idea what my aunt is handing me. Of course, the way we fought as kids, she might be taking whatever that thing is away from me. Is it a snake? Is it a dinosaur? Is it a fish? I really cannot say. I don’t remember that thing at all! I’m smiling, so I must have thought it was cool.
The crocheted shawl my aunt is wearing has GOT to be something my mom made. If I were to make a wager, it very well may have been her Christmas gift from my mom. Mom loved to crochet and made a lot of things for family. She made me some sort of sweater vest one year. When she was into ceramics, she made something for every one. When she was making fabric painted sweatshirts, everyone got one. Because the pattern, I would certainly think that the shawl is my mom’s handiwork.
You will also notice that on the tree, right behind my aunt is a crocheted diamond ornament. My mom made hundreds of those ornaments. One year our tree was full of them! Want proof?
The other thing I notice in the picture with my aunt and me is the garland. It seems like garland was a necessity for Christmas for my mom and grandma. It is wrapped around the tree, which is where you’d expect it, I suppose. But you see the lone strand hanging down along the wall by the fire place? Right there between the tree and the melted plastic Santa? I can almost bet that it is strung along the top of the fire place.
I stopped writing and went to my hard drive to see if I could find a picture of the garland. Sure enough, a couple years earlier, here is my aunt and I in front of the same fireplace. There along the wall – is the garland!
It’s time for another edition of the Friday Photo Flashback. This one has a holiday theme to it. My best guess is that it was taken between 1972-1973. I make this guess based on the contents of the photo. Let’s Flashback to a Christmas morning ….
The above photo is of yours truly many moons ago. It is Christmas morning. The tree is out of the camera shot, but would be to my left, probably right in front of my mom.
As a kid, I don’t really remember unwrapping many presents. Usually, my dad played Santa and when my brother and I got up, the toys were already put together and in front of the tree. That may have been the case here as I don’t see a whole lot of wrapping paper.
Observations from the picture:
My mother is so young and beautiful in this picture. I don’t remember the robe she is wearing at all. If it wasn’t for this photo, I don’t know that I would have ever seen it before. I love that she is smiling while watching me.
I don’t recognize that couch at all! This would have been taken at the first house I remember. We lived there until the winter of 1976. I know that the tree would have been right in front of our living room window (again, just out of the camera shot).
I am obviously wearing two piece PJ’s, but only wearing the pants. That looks more like a regular T-shirt than a PJ top. It is possible, although I can’t really tell, that I am either wearing slippers OR those pants have footies on them. Hard to say.
The first thing I noticed when looking at the photo was that big boat next to me. It took me only one broad search of “Little People Boat” on Google for the toy to come up. According to Google, this would have come out in 1972.
I have blogged about Little People before, but not sure if I mentioned this set. I remember that flag so well. It was literally a plastic triangle on a long spring! I forgot about those crazy deck chairs and the life preservers. You can see one of those and the little blue boat on the floor in front of me.
To my left in the picture, was a favorite of mine – the Little People Airport.
The jet is to my right in the picture and the cars and such are scattered about. I remember that helicopter so well.
I wish I had one of those programs that brings out of focus pictures back in focus! From what I can read off the box behind me it says, “Push ‘Em Car.” I wasn’t sure if it said “cart” or “cars.” I did a search and what came up was a toybox. It is VERY possible that is what it is.
The one in the picture of me is not a Mickey Mouse one. Only two kinds came up in a search – the one above abd a generic one. The box behind me in the photo looks like it has monkeys on it. I wish I could make out what they are!
The last thing that I can make out was the book in the bottom right of the picture. I could barely make out “Zoo Keeper” so I typed that into a Google search. Imagine that, the book showed up! It’s called Zeke Zoo Keeper! I don’t remember it at all, but there it is!
I wish that I had more photos of the stuff we had under the tree. I guess without them, the proof is there that it really is never about the gifts you receive, but the experiences. Sure, I can remember some of the gifts I got for Christmas, but many of them are long forgotten. It is the memories with family that I will always remember.
It’s time for another Friday Photo Flashback. Once again, today’s installment was prompted by something I noticed on Facebook.
Many of my friends are posting their child’s Senior pictures. Back in the day, you went to a studio and they took your yearbook headshot and a few other forced poses. Today, many opt to go to professional photo studios and have them done outside of the studio. I’ve seen some amazing photos of seniors in a variety of places. Some were on a baseball field, others in the bowling alley, and many outside with fall colors as a background. Then there were others that were taken outside old buildings that had graffiti on the walls, or next to classic cars. There is certainly more variety today!!
Today, you get a few photos. First, the one that I found recently of my mom. This was her high school Senior picture.
This would have been 1966, if I remember correctly. She looks absolutely beautiful in this photo. Before her cancer and all that chemo and radiation, she has such beautiful hair. She always had it done up in some way. Her smile is so subtle in the picture. The thing that gets me, though, are her eyes. Those eyes – there is so much love in them.
Giving equal time to my day, I was able to find one of his Senior picture.
I love that he is in his cap and gown here. He had completed all the requirements for graduation and opted to graduate in January of 1964 instead of waiting and graduating in June with the rest of his class. The photo is in black and white, but I can’t help but wonder what the school colors were. I wonder about it because of the mortarboard. That dark band at the bottom could have been black or blue and the rest of the cap grey or light blue. I don’t know. How can you not dig the skinny tie?
One thing is for sure, I got two things from dad: dark eyes and big eyebrows! You can see that in my Senior picture.
Urgh! The 80’s!! HUGE glasses, thick ties, sideburns, and an awful 70’s porn stache! You’ll have to take my word on the big eye brows, the big glasses are in the way in this picture. One thing I did like was the amount of hair I had back then. I am pretty sure the beginnings of the bald spot were visible at this time from the back, but thankfully not in this picture.
As an added bonus, I will add my baby brother’s Senior picture. Just three years later and he’s rocking one of my ties!
I’m not sure who wore the stache better, him or me. That tie, if I remember right was a real silk tie that my grandmother had bought for me one Christmas. I loved that tie, but one holiday I wound up dripping gravy or salad dressing on it – ruining it for good.
Upon closer examination, it looks like big eyebrows run in my family ….
It is time for another Friday Photo Flashback. This week, it is a bit different. In the past installments, I have picked on photo and written about things in it, or the memories connected to it. Today, however, is Veteran’s Day and I have a few photos that I want to share. The camera at the top of the blog is a 1967 Polaroid Land Camera. I chose this particular camera because of the context of the photos below.
Veteran’s Day is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all US military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service.
I’d like to especially thank my dad, and all of the great Vietnam veterans I’ve had the chance to meet because of him. Here is a photo of him either just before or just after basic training.
My dad served in the 9th Infantry.
He sent many photos home from Vietnam. He sent them to my grandparents, and my mom (long before they were married).
These photos were in albums for many years and there was a time that my dad didn’t talk much about his time in Vietnam. It was war after all, and he saw things and witnessed things I cannot imagine.
I knew from a shadow box that held his name tag, bars, patches, and his Purple Heart that he was in the infantry and was wounded. It was years later that he told me about that.
The above photo was one I don’t really remember. It is possible that this was one that my grandma had at her house in her albums. I’m going to guess that my dad is 21-23 in this photo.
The title on this scan was “R&R,” so my dad might be on leave in this picture. It is another one that I have a vague recollection of.
A father will usually boast about being proud of their children, but I would like to turn the tables and say that I am proud of my father. I am honored to be this hero’s son. Thank you, Pop, for your service to our country.
Before wrapping up, let me remember my grandfather, Henry Davidson, who fought in World War II and my Uncle Tom (my Godfather), who also served in Vietnam.
I love this picture of my dad and my uncle. There were friends since childhood and remained friends until my uncle passed away. What an amazing friendship they shared.
Today I thank those who have served in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and all branches of the military. Thank you for your service to this country and thank you for the freedoms that I have, the freedoms that my family and friends have, and for the freedoms of every American citizen. You make me proud to be an American.
Its time for another edition of my Friday Photo Flashback. I stumbled upon a photo that brought back many memories making me happy and sad at the same time. Take a peak:
If I was going to put a date on this, it is probably around 1996 or 1997. It looks like it was taken at a home I lived in with my then girlfriend and future ex. It is a terrible picture of me, as I am obviously caught by surprise here. I still have hair and am still wearing glasses. I’m also sporting one of the T-shirts I had made for my DJ business. But it is not me (or the big honking computer monitor) that catches my attention – it is the stuff I can see in the background.
A lot of it I can make out just by looking at it. However, I viewed it by zooming in and a lot caught my attention. The bookshelves alone are full of fantastic memories! The book shelf on the left side of the picture holds a boat load of VHS tapes. On the top shelf I can make out some Soupy Sales Show videos and some videos we must have recorded off TV (hand made lables). On the shelf below that I can make out the VHS tapes of the Three Stooges shorts, Jack Webb’s Dragnet movie, and the Jack Palance version of Dracula. Each shelf would hold two rows of VHS tapes. So I can only see the front rows of what is on the shelf. It seems like the third shelf down is also holding video tapes, but the three hole punch on top of the computer monitor is blocking it.
This photo is obviously taken after 1994. That is when Honey Radio went off the air. Honey stuff is all over this room! Right above the three hole punch, you can make out a black and gold Honey Radio coffee mug. On the top shelf of the right book case, I can see the the Billboard Top 100 Chart book and Pop Singles book. These were part of the Honey on air studio. Behind me on the wall is a chalk caricature that was drawn of me while I was out doing a remote broadcast. I LOVED that thing, and it is long gone now. (This may be the only photographic evidence of it). Next to that is a wooden sign with the Honey Logo on it. Below that sign are two frames. One contains one of the last Honey Happenings newsletters (which has my picture in it) and the other is a shot of me and my old morning show partner.
On the wall behind me in the photo is a beautiful framed photo of the Three Stooges. I received that for Christmas one year from my parents. Under that is the top of a Blues Brothers concert poster. At one point, I used that when my partner Steve and I would don our Blues Brothers hats when we DJ’d. And right below that are the Three Stooges dolls I wrote about in a previous Friday Photo Flashback. You can see the tag on the Curly just behind my ear.
Heading back to the bookshelves. The bookshelf on the right has SO many books that I wish I still had. There is a book on Bugs Bunny, a book on World War II that I had given my grandpa, a few books with Three Stooges scripts, an amazing biography on Curly, and the wonderful Ted Sennett book on the Art of Hanna Barbera.
On the second shelf, I can make out the Milton Berle Joke books I used when I was on the radio, biographies on Stan Freberg and Jackie Gleason, and books I had forgotten about. One example of this is when Thomas Chastain offered up a new Perry Mason novel –
Another example is the books by William Harrington series with Columbo as the star –
The next shelf contains books about movies and TV shows. I had books on Get Smart, Batman, Perry Mason, The Munsters, and more. The coolest of the TV show books were two with trivia and scripts from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
There are other little trinkets and treasures on the shelves I can see, but the ones on the top of the book cases are ones I wish I still had. I can see my prom glasses up there (yes, they gave high school kids in 1988 wine glasses!), I had two because I went to prom with a gal in my junior year and then my senior prom.
On the left, you can see the boxes that contained limited edition Blues Brothers dolls. I had both Jake and Elwood.
Also on the top of the shelf are Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton figures – limited editions, as well.
I had no idea there was an Alice figure that went with those two until I was searching for pictures.
Finding the photo with all of these memories was such a treat to me. I am sad to remember so many great books and things that are no longer in my possession, but the memories of them remain.