Precious memories in black-and-white

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things was looking through stacks of old black-and-white photos at my grandmother’s house. It was a trip back through the decades before I was born, seeing my grandparents as young adults and ancestors I never had the opportunity to meet.

In my mind, I  can still hear my Grandmother say “Daddy, get the Kodak” whenever there was a photo opportunity at a family gathering. Those “Kodak moments” created some precious memories.

So, now I’m an adult with a stack of old photos of my own. And this past weekend I pulled a couple of my favorites out of the digital drawer and posted them on Facebook in honor of my late father’s birthday and for “Sibling Day,” as if that’s really a thing.

The two photos I posted are the favorite snapshots in my possession.

The one posted at the top of this blog post is No. 1 on my personal hit parade. It was taken (by my grandfather, I think) at the Fort Smith, Ark., airport moments before my mother, sister and I boarded a Braniff Airways turboprop to begin our journey to the island of Okinawa.

I told my mother that I loved this photo because of all it represents. Traveling 8,000 miles to join my father, who was in the military and stationed on the island. We would live there for about 18 months. I would begin high school at an American school for military dependents on the island.

There’s more. All three of us were dressed in our Sunday best like we were headed to church on Easter because that’s how you traveled in those days. At least in our family. I’ve never let my mother forget that she made me travel 8,000 miles in a suit coat and clip-on tie.

The second photo, posted to the left, shows my dad and me in the front yard of our home at Fort Buckner, on the island. It was military housing, with my dad’s name and rank posted near the front door.

I don’t remember the circumstances of the photo. It’s obviously early in the morning because of the shadows. I’m clowning by putting my dad’s pipe in my mouth as we pose. Ha ha. But it’s a moment of time that I now cherish more than 50 years later.

The point of all this is that these two photos have motivated me to find those old photos that were my grandmother’s and digitize as many of them as possible.

I want to share those precious memories with my children and grandchildren.