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A Gift From Ely - Livin' the Good Life

May. 27th, 2012

08:13 am - A Gift From Ely

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Through lots of effort and expense on his part, Ely gave our family a precious gift. He took some old, deteriorateing films from our family's archives and had them restored and transfered to DVD. None of us had ever seen them before. Most of these old "movies" were of my mother and father in the 1930s. In some, we guessed my mom was only 15 or 16 years old. They were taken by her father, my Grandaddy. There were brief shots of her mother and her aunt that are real treasures, as we have only a few photographs of them. There was a reel of my mom playing piano while her mother sang (Mom took 8 years of lessons and was quite an acomplished accompaniest, I hear). Unfortunately, there was no sound. I would have LOVED to have heard what they were playing and singing. My mom seemed to be enjoying it so much. There are scenes of my dad, Grandpa Bob, with his friends at college. There were a few reels of my brother as a baby and of he and I together when I was about three. I loved seeing my sweet little blond self in action. How would I describe her? Let's just say, I did not look like a trouble-maker! I looked very gentle. My dad looked HANDSOME, in capital letters! But, my mom left the biggest impression. She was STUNNING. We saw her interacting with people at her engagement party, and not only was she beautiful (she was 18 at the time), but her demeanor was graceful, poised and vibrant. Just lovely. She dressed impeccably, and from the look of it, quite stylishly for the time. On another reel, we watched her do pom-pom routines with her schoolmates, and she was extra-energetic, coordinated, and happy-looking. She was also quite thin, as were all her friends. We loved examining all the hairstyles of the day and the finely-tailored clothes. My father and mother came from families that were financially comfortable, both sailing through the depression without financial hardship.
My dad told me that he wore a suit and tie to high school and that his mother sent him to a tailor once a year to have two new suits made for each school year. I never knew that! But, looking at him interacting with his buddies in college revealed that all the young men at Principia (a private Christian Science college) dressed like that. I guess things were much more formal in those days.
It was very good for me to see my mother when she was young, because my memories of her were from much later, when she was not so healthy or happy. It felt important for me to get another view of her. Seeing her so fit and full of life helped me achieve a broader perspective and a new appreciation for her. And I'm grateful to my grandfather for taking these movies and to Ely for restoring them. They are now a part of our family archives and will be made available to all family members. Our "family story" has just gotten bigger, more comprehensive.
Below, our nuclear and extended family was gathering to watch these movies, when some of Reanna's family members arrived, so we all watched them together. This is what our living room looked like at many points throughout the wedding celebrations.
living room gathering