Through the Front Door Week 37 of 2019


Purpose of the image is looking backwards into the history of my family
Reflections of Family History. My father and my uncles circa 1927

The Burden of Old Photos

For years the question of old photos has weighed down my mind. I have toted a box of loose photos with me from place to place for decades. “To keep or to pitch, that has been the question.” Looking at pictures of those who once were and now are no longer creates a strange and unnameable feeling: is it nostalgia?

At any rate, the photos have taken up space in my closets for decades. It’s been on again and off again about what to do with them. Finally I have decided to store them with Amazon Pictures “in the cloud.” For a while I will be inflicting photos on readers of the Front Door. So take pour yourself a stiff drink, or take two aspirin and take a nap because the photos are here.

The Janssen Sons and Daughters of Lorraine Kansas

The above photo is of my father and his brothers. Although they are not in the photo, two girls “bookended” the boys. Belinda (who later used the name Eleanor) was the first child; Evelyn was the last. She was the unexpected afterthought and grew up as an only child with six siblings.

My grandmother was well educated for a farmer’s daughter from Kansas. She was an avid reader and something of a romantic because she named her sons after famous writers of the day. My father Wallace was named after Lew Wallace of Ben Hur fame. Gordon was named after the poet George Gordon, Lord Byron. Paul was named after the prolific writer of Gospels. Leigh was named after the poet and essayist, Leigh Hunt, and Homer, of course, was named for the poet of the Illiad and Odyssey.

For whom (or for what) the daughters were named is mere speculation. Belinda was the central figure in Alexander Pope’s satirical narrative poem “The Rape of the Lock.” Belinda is also the gentle and kind protagonist of the novel “Belinda” written by Maria Edgeworth. On the other hand, Belinda is also a kind-hearted sow who speaks pig Latin. As she is a Disney character she is far too young to have been my aunt’s namesake.

You have been introduced to one side of the family. For now I am out of photos. Excuse me while I scan some more on the world’s slowest scanner.

Advertisements