Thursday, August 7, 2014

Old Albums, Lost Memories

While I was looking for something else, I found an old album of photographs from my mother-in-law, Retha Johnson Morrison. It holds old photos of friends and relatives. Some I recognize and others, I have no idea who they are.
I wish that she would have written on the back side names and dates, now, unless I can get someone to help, they will remain nameless and probably be tossed out into the trash. I hope to label as many as I can or hide them until they become antiques and someone wants to safely store them for the beauty and strength seen in each person’s face.
Although there is a place for color pictures, there is a special ambience to the black and white photos. The viewer is drawn by the expressions seen in the faces and not pulled aside by the color of their clothing or by the colors of the background. The eyes are drawn to the faces, the hair styles, and their clothing that draws the viewer back into the history of the moment.
For me, it causes me to pause and try to imagine what it was like to have been living then. I time where manual labor jobs outweighed the clerical ones, small time farmers fed the nation as well as themselves, and American’s were free to worship as they chose. The wash was done by hand and dried outside all year long. There were vehicles with horse power, sleighs, wagons, and single engine jobs topped with a saddle. Clothing was often hand sewn and worn until it was outgrown and passed down, or until it was too patched to be anything left but a rag.
Long distance was yelling across the street or valley or a written letter if you could afford a stamp. Telephones were just coming into vogue with party lines and the social media was found in the newspaper’s society page. Jobs were scarce, but we protected our borders. We welcomed others from distant lands and incorporated their heritage into ours. They came to be Americans, not to change it into the system of government that they had just left behind.
America was the land of hope and promise. It was a beacon for the poor and oppressed. They were welcomed if they entered legally, assimilated to the governing laws of America, and became citizens of our nation.
I know that everything is not in black and white, but the shades of gray have become the norm, not the foundation that our country was founded upon and there is no gray written in the words of the U.S. Constitution. It spells out exactly what the states are responsible for and what each branch of government should do and it lists the limits of those powers.

Let’s go back to the black and white of our forefathers.

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