I'm not sure when the above shot was taken but it was snapped at 809 East Avenue in York, Nebraska. We lived in that yellow house for several years- it was owned by our congregation where my dad was the minister. With my parents that sunny day were my paternal grandparents, Harold and Minnie Hawley. They visited us about once a year, driving down from their Michigan home. I really think Mom is pretty in this picture and I like the fact that she and Dad were holding hands. They seem so young while Grandma and Grandpa seem so elderly. I love happy childhood memories and this moment in time is a reminder of how blessed I truly was. I see so many kids with fractured families now and my heart hurts that they can't relate to growing up with harmony. My parents would never claim we were flawless, because we weren't, but we were intact and we were at peace. I was just too innocent to appreciate it at the time.
But this isn't a treatise on familial accord. It's about the inset picture. It might be a bit blurry but hopefully you can make out Grandpa holding his camera. Grandpa Hawley was always taking pictures. Almost every picture of my childhood came from his camera. My folks were not big on photography, to my now regret. I have no pictures of myself playing basketball or baseball unless they came from our small town newspaper or my high school/college yearbooks. But there are plenty of bright and vivid family scenes captured through Grandpa's lens, shot in New York and Nebraska, Michigan and Wisconsin, where Dad's brother, Monroe, and his clan resided. When I have used the shots on Facebook as cover photos, I inevitably receive compliments about their rich hues and it's all due to Grandpa. When my folks died, my brother, Scott, put the pictures, tucked away in my parents' closet and converted to slides, on a disk and sent them to me. The contents gave me a window on my formative years and an appreciation for Harold Hawley and his passion for film. It's not a huge window but big enough to take an accurate gauge of life in the Hawley house. And I see we were almost always smiling.
I wish I knew why my grandfather liked taking pictures so much. Maybe he didn't- maybe it was just his historical obligation to those who would follow. But I'm so grateful he took the time and that he was accomplished in his non-professional craft. We took a test today in all my classes about the background of the Gospels, breaking down each of the four books to show their unique character. One point we made about the second of the Gospels was that Mark may have written through the eyes of Peter and the lens of his remembrances. That's the way I feel about growing up. I see it even now through my Grandpa's eye. His voice is starting to fade from my memory- he died when I was in college- but his influence remains in his grandson every time I use one of his pictures to tell a story or illustrate a teaching. The book of my life has been richly illustrated by my father's father. What a terrific legacy he left on film to share with the next generation.
Applicable quote of the day:
Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
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