Jelly, jelly so fine

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Family photo

My brother John sent this family photo over today from 1964. Must have been with mom's stuff. I don't recall ever seeing it before and don't remember the exact place where it was taken. Indian statue possibly with unspecified trees in the background. We used to go to Gallup a lot, maybe it was Gallup? Looks cold and maybe a little rainy.

The characters are as follows, left to right, oldest sister Liz, yours truly at the tender age of six, evil stepsister Donna, older sister Barbara, my mother and my stepbrother David. My late younger brother Buzz is standing at the base. Buzz would have just turned five.

Liz was a genius who still inhabits her own planet. I thankfully lost track of Donna somewhere along the way, she converted to mormanism and had a very brutal streak. Barbara was beautiful, I am struck by how much my mother resembles a much later Liz in this photo. Mom favored sherbet shifts and coral lipstick during this time.

David was killed in a motorcycle accident years ago. He was a great guy and really good role model for Buzz and I, good with tools and an Indian dancer at scouts. Later on he became a rock climber, outlaw biker, printer and mountain man.

Johnnie, Laurie and Amie were not as yet born. Amie died in a car wreck in 1983. Later this particular nucleus pictured included Don's brother Vern's kids Rusty and Gail; Vern was an alcoholic and couldn't raise them right. We drove up to Colorado Springs to pick them up.

We may have been in El Paso by the time this picture was taken. We had moved to El Paso from Las Cruces sometime in 1964, Don was working at the missile range at White Sands. The year before we had been in Lancaster, my stepfather then working at China Lake. Had thirteen in the house at one time in El Paso, including a couple more strays.

I remember all piling into a green 64 plymouth fury station wagon with simulated wood paneling for a cross country trip to see Don's kin in Indiana. Don was an alcoholic too, with all these dependents who could blame him? We ate cereal out of little perforated boxes and visited every brewery we could find in Missouri. Ate a lot of pretzels that summer. Stopped at a bunch of Stuckeys and Libbey's cafeterias. And a lot of KFC. Remember eating on the banks of the river in St. Lois, incredible humidity that summer.

Got to the farm in Noblesville with nothing to do but watch apples occasionally fall from the tree. Never been so bored in my life. Don's mom squealed on me for stealing a piece of candy from the kitchen. Knew right then that I couldn't trust her with a secret. Weird old broad with an unnatural love for baseball.

This picture is taken right about when the wheels came off the wagon, right about the time the troubles and real craziness started. I'm sure Buzz and I were plenty rotten kids but I don't think we had what was coming coming.

Anyway we made it through.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful photo. Buzz. Thanks for the family heritage. Maybe a bit more complicated, but no less dysfunctional than so many of us at that time. Lovely piece Robert.

Jack said...

I actually found that picture in Don's effects. I have a ton of negatives to go through, maybe more gold in there...
I need to buy or build a lightbox to get through those efficiently.

I am really glad this brought back so much for you.


your last little brother

Blue Heron said...

Thanks John. Don't ever think I don't love you too. I appreciate al the old family pics you can muster up. I'm having a real tough time processing or functioning right now, like most of us.