“This PHOTO… MEMORIES are Forever”

Early 1940’s… Some of the worst of  TIMES… America was now entered into the “WAR” and if you  were  not living then – – you missed out on  something – – that is only understandable if you were  a part – – and doing your part here in AMERICA – – to help our ALLIES.

In this PHOTO is little TOMMY and ME – – and since we are standing near the steps going to the basement – – only I noticed that I am ready for any quick moves little TOMMY  ‘might make’ as he has a tendency to  fly down ‘stairs’ – – when he  is close to them. On one… MONDAY  morning ‘wash day’… my MOTHER was in the basement  and the washing machine was running – – and I was down there also to help   sort out the wash – – TOMMY was upstairs and near the “trap-door”… where he should not have been – – he called down to us…  and in bending and trying to see down the steps – – there he was  – – in one fell swoop – – into a  pile of dirty clothes – – and with a surprised look. His “Guardian Angel” works over time!

ME & Tom 001

It was also some of the ‘best of times’ – – that is for children and the way that I am standing…  reminds me….  these  same  years that we were in WWII – – something  happened at “NIGHT” – – we had “BLACK OUTS” – –  of which… has not happened  since in AMERICA – – 

Who would have thought that  ‘air planes’ could fly across the ocean  non-stop and loaded with bombs – – fly into the state of Missouri – – but we did need to be prepared and so there were  ‘air-raid tests’  and the  “Civil Defense” wardens would be walking up and down each and every  street  – –  and if they saw a ‘light’  in your house – – – – they were knocking on your door.

There was one such  night – –  when we did get a knock on the door – – and the WARDEN calling – – “Turn off the LIGHTS!”  – – All of the windows in the house had extra heavy drapes hung – – besides the regular window blinds and drapes covering  – – but that one night – – just the smallest of light was seen  so then…  I just had to go outside to see what the world looked like?

Never before was Saint Louis so dark out side – — no automobiles   anywhere at all – not even the “Walnut Park Bus”  – – I had to see for myself  – – so I stood in the middle of  “Carter and Linton”     looking both ways – – and not a light to be seen. So… as a little girl – – no traffic – – the center of that street made a real good looking   “stage”  for me.

Everyone in their  homes… I  could now do… what I would do during the day on the sidewalk… “somersaults” and “cart-wheels” – –  now on  the nice wide and open street intersection – – not a chance of running into anything – – just me singing and dancing  with a up and over for as long as I wanted – – “WOW” … if only someone could have taken a PHOTO – – to really remember the FUN time I had – – until my MOTHER called and showed up – – Everyone was suppose to be in their “HOMES” for safety sake – – could be shot by the enemy or even bombed. So many reasons…  I was given  as to why…  I should have been in the house.

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This PHOTO is of   “Grandma Lulu” as the  Grand-children called her – – and she was in her eighties on this PHOTO  – – holding newborn,  “Grand-son AL”  – – and this is in the front yard of our home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The reason for a PHOTO of “Grand-ma Lulu – – is because of her age  now and  in just five (5) years – – Lee Sr – her son and my husband will be dead – – and in LIFE – – with such a “tragedy” – – staring at us – – we do not know – – and there is nothing in this world that we can do…  on this date – – to change anything coming in  such  a short time – – something that none of us want to be  happening … to the FAMILY! **** Today we are all HAPPY ***** TOMORROW… We will all  be so very SAD!”*****

When I arrived home – – – from the  “FAMOUS BARR” store with the finished and enlarged PHOTO of Lee – done in oil… and so “LIFE-LIKE” – – I had the perfect spot to hang it.

Just the year before Lee died – – we moved back to Saint Louis so that Lee could have another surgery and were in hopes of moving back to Florida – – so we did not sell the house in Florida – – but so many things that we were planing on  – – just were not written in our BOOK of LIFE – – so – – so many changes were all new and different for me  – – to learn to deal with and make  a totally new LIFE change – – whether I liked these changes  or not.

So… we have a house – – a split-foyer type  – – – the type that in coming into the  entry landing area  of the  HOME – – –  from the front door – – you are standing  and looking up some steps to the main floor  or you can look and see the downstairs area – – to the larger living room area with a very large fire place and other rooms.

BUT… while you are standing in the entry area… to make your decision to go UP or DOWN – – here we are with GRAND-MA Lulu – – and as she looks up – – she sees LEE’s  PHOTO – – in such vibrant colors  and looking back at her – – as in this PHOTO – – no matter where in the room that you go – – Lee’s eyes are on you.

“Grandma Lulu” almost had a “HEART ATTACK”  – – seeing that ‘alive looking’ PHOTO … was almost too much for her and at her age to take. We were all at the FUNERAL and not too long before – – and this was too much. But… until she said told us – – that Lee’s eyes follow you around the room – – no one else had ever made that comment.  – –  “So I am glad that Lee  is still a real part of all of our lives – – and this  new piece of  “ART WORK” – – sure makes a big and good difference in our lives.

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The Original PHOTO”

Yesterday… posted this PHOTO of Lee Aldrich in color. When one compares the ‘one’ with the ‘other’ – – its all the difference of…  DAY and NIGHT!

If you have the  “TIME” – – click from yesterday’s post… the “PHOTO”  in color  – –  one  and back to the other – – and really compare. This suit is changed to a “NEW” suit – – and the same with the tie. Even Lee’s face seems so much  more alive. The whole world of color – – used is just the right degree of shading and texture —  Just have to give the Almighty full credit for  having this PHOTO turn out to be a really wonderful remembrance  of the Love of my LIFE  – – since he needed to leave “EARTH”… too soon.

Since the boys were young and I knew that without seeing their FATHER each and  every day – – it would be  too soon and they would never have a real good  idea of what he looked like.  So…  I stared going through all the PHOTOS  that I could find – – to find  that “one”…  that – –  I would like  and would be something the boys would see  daily  – – fixing a permanent reminder… of   what their FATHER  did look  like – – when he was here with us.

With my envelope of  PHOTOS – – I went to the down town  “FAMOUS and BARR” store – – as that was  “the” store our FAMILY did the majority of their shopping.

In the “PHOTO” department – – I had explained what I was…  IN HOPES OF HAVING THEM DO WITH ONE OF THESE – –  small  photos… maybe making a miracle happen – – because what I had to work with – – – well the selection was pitiful  – – –  to say the least.

Sometimes in Life… when you want HEAVEN – – but you just know it is not here on EARTH – – I almost thought that this was not going to turn out to be  what I really want – – but evidently… the Almighty must have sent some of his “ANGELS” to work with me that day – – I could not believe – – the price that I was quoted was what I could work with – – and this PHOTO…  they told me would be the best of all those that I had for them to work with – – and they would enlarge this small PHOTO to the best and as large as possible size  – –  that I would be very “HAPPY”  with the results.

When I returned to “FAMOUS BARR” store to see the final  and finished  “work of art” – – because that is what “it”  is. They had a couple of frames selected to view the PHOTO  in – – but the one that they had on – – just did wonders – -and I was not about to make a change. In walking out of the store – – I think that I was walking on “Cloud NINE” – – I could hardly wait to get HOME and hang it up for all to see – – for the whole world to view and admire.

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“1/5/67 – Nightmare remembered”

“Detective Lee Aldrich”

Who in the world  – – would ever have thought – – that taking this PHOTO of  “LEE  ALDRICH” – – just for fun – – would be the one PHOTO that would be used to remember him by – – for the rest of my LIFE.

Some times the things that we do in “FUN” – have already been markers in your LIFE – – that will later end up being lasting memories – – “MEMORIES”  that you and your children will have – – for a remembrance of  a LIFE … that you may have wanted – – but  – – when “one”  LIFE is cut short – – there will only be that small token “FUN” memory to last…forever.

After one surgery … too many – –  Lee had all  that he could take – that last night was a night-mare – the first POLICE OFFICER to arrive – – his oxygen tank was empty –  – then the ambulance came – – took us to the hospital – – the neighbors had taken the two little ones to their home – little Al always called them, “MY FRIEND” and they so liked him – – always taking him places with them.

At the hospital – – they immediately grabbed LEE – – rushed off to where – – – – were they really trying to save him – – it was the middle of the night – – seems that we were the only ones there that night. Someone came out to see me – – “We just could not save him” – – “There has to be something that you can do” – – “We did everything” – – “You could try harder” – – We did everything –  – – you do not want him to be a “vegetable” – – I do not care – –  – just so long  as he is with me forever – – – I can take care of him” – – “YOU are too young –  – – and it would be too difficult for you to do”  – – -“To this date – – I do not believe that they really tried to save him!”

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“How did YOU know it was EASTER”

“EASTER” in the Orphanage…

This PHOTO is of the “Boys Dining”  room – – if the eldest in the FAMILY was a  ‘BOY’ – – then that FAMILY of children had their meals in the ‘BOYS DINING ROOM’ – – and that same info applied to the ‘GIRLS’ and their Dining room was just as you see here – – but  down the corridor.

A year or two before  “GRADUATION DAY” for me  – – a change was made for the McClarren Family to leave  the ‘GIRLS Dining room’ and have a table in the above PHOTO – – the ‘BOYS’ Dining room – – and our table was  at the far corner of this PHOTO – – the last table on the right – –  near that last window along the front wall of the building.

A class mate of mine, Gail Porter who had older brothers, was  already in this dining room and their table was by the exit door – – which was at end  of the inside wall – – so we were in conversation – – whenever – – and usually – – when we were not to be talking – – and would continue on – – no matter what – – causing ‘grief’ to  – – “SISTER MICHAEL”  who would so often say to us – – “YOU – – ‘two’  will still be talking … ‘forty years’  – – after you are both dead and buried!”

I think we only talked so much – – because we knew we could … and what would happen – “Sister Michael” liked both of our FAMILIES”  – –

So how did we know that it was “EASTER SUNDAY” in the ORPHAN HOME?  Everyone knows that the “EASTER BUNNY” delivers eggs – – well – – for “EASTER”  for  our breakfast… and  in  each child’s  cereal bowl would be two “EASTER EGGS” – –  served with a piece of jelly bread and a cup of milk.  “so..” you will say –  – “What’s…  so different about that?” – -“That is how we knew it was “EASTER” – –  as that was the only day of the year – – that we would even see an egg – – much less have  “two” for breakfast!”

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“EASTER Remembered in PHOTOS”

When the McClarrens lived in “Pine Lawn” and everything was celebrated with “Gusto” – – since it was mostly for the adults – – but as small children – – we sure did not  have any  complaints  – – we were always having Fun – – my DAD even built… for  us a small  in the ground  “swimming” pool. In this first PHOTO is DENNY Jr.,  with a small stuff toy.

In this PHOTO is MARY ELLEN and baby, TOMMY and  with “EASTER”  baskets – – in hand  – – just so we know the HOLIDAY.

The above PHOTOS were in the early 1940’s – – and the next is…  NOW in Fort Lauderdale and in the  late 1950’s and on “EASTER SUNDAY” morning – – – as after having been in CHURCH – – we decided to have BREAKFAST in a Restaurant that was not one that we operated – – something different for a change. The real reason was for the benefit of baby, Al – – to see what he thought of … when meeting a great big “BUNNY RABBIT” – – that is Donald Aldrich holding “AL’s” hand – –  and brother, Lee  – – just taking in all of the surprise – – at first “AL” could hardly feel too comfortable … with the giant size animal?

So NOW… this PHOTO was just before leaving for CHURCH – – since we were going to eat out  after CHURCH – – did not think anyone would be in the mood  – – – when  returning … for PHOTOS with baskets?

This PHOTO next is years  before – – because this is baby, Lee – – and for “EASTER”  – – I had decided to surprise the three boys with a couple of … “LIVE BABY CHICKS” and this PHOTO gives everyone an idea of how some “chicks” will react – – when always being pursued  by a small child – – that has no real sense as to the struggle for LIFE – – it must find – – just to survive- – being a…  “play” toy!

The  next  PHOTO is two PHOTOS  – – spliced together in  the front  of the Church – – the left side is DONALD holding LEE’s  right  hand and ME holding the other – –  and if you  will  observe  carefully – – you will notice that the dress that I am wearing – – is the very same dress that my “AUNT IRENE RILEY”  had made for me  – – to  graduate in – – from the “eighth grade” – – took the sleeves off  and  used  a light cream color of dye  – – so that – – the dress would be suitable   for SUMMER wear.

On the right side of the above PHOTO – –  that is still DONALD holding baby Lee’s hands – and TOM the oldest brother is standing with the dark color  trousers,  and since I am taking this PHOTO…  and not in  this one – – do have my husband, Lee – – standing  to the right of  his son, TOM – – – –  since  LEE is tall and thin – – you may not be able to  clearly  see  or notice that  – – that is him.

“HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT???”   “We are early for CHURCH – – sometimes  not  an easy thing to pull off – – and one other thing – – BACK then living in FLORIDA – we never locked the doors of the house – – some years later when we were all going to be together…  for a long trip to ST.LOUIS – – we had to have a “KEY MAKER” make keys for us – – but then…   when we arrived back HOME  – and after the month away – – could not find the  new “KEYS”  to get into the house – – and LEE  – – then had to use his magic “KNOW HOW” to get a door open.”

“HOW the TIMES…  do…  change???”

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