Monday, December 20, 2010

Unbelievable photograph from 1948

You’ve heard stories about fate, destiny, serendipity, coincidence, etc. Well here's another one.
Last week I received a gift from my 84-year-old grandmother. It is an old photograph with these words written on the back: “Santa Claus on the Caldwell square Dec. 11, 1948, Sandra Ellen age 4 years.”

Sandra Ellen was my mother.
She is pictured in the front, holding her mother, my grandmother Janice Ilene Day Watson’s hand. Grandmother Watson is 22 in this photograph. She looks so happy.

What’s so special about this photograph, which I did not know existed until I received, is that my father also is pictured in it with his mother.

Fred McDonald is in the back, center of the photo being held in his mother, my grandmother Ruth Frances DeVol McDonald’s arms. Dad was 3 years old in this picture and Grandmother McDonald was 28.

I’m still in awe of this photo, which I think was published in the Caldwell newspaper. Somehow here are both of my parents as little children with their mothers. Here are two families that did not know each other when the photographer captured this moment in time.

It is the split-second creation of an image of two complete strangers during Christmastime 1948 viewed by their offspring 62 years later.

It would be a decade and several more years from 1948 until Sandra and Fred and their families would meet, and everyone would share in much joy and then sorrow in a short amount of time.

Fast-forward to Dec. 20, 1965 – the day Sandra gave birth to her and Fred’s baby daughter – Lisa Lee McDonald – that’s me!

Grandmother Watson tucked two other vintage photos in my birthday card this year. One is of my parents on their wedding day in May 1965, and the other is of me and my parents on Easter morning 1967 at the farm. My mother is ill in the latter photograph, suffering from leukemia. Sandra Ellen Watson McDonald left this world in October 1967.

Thank you Grandmother for sharing with me a glimpse of our past through these wonderful photographs.