Normally when I don’t know what to say I just post a bunch of pictures and then try to explain them. For the last week I’ve been wandering around my parents’ house looking at my dad’s stuff and taking pictures of all the shit I’ll never see again because the second my mother dies my brother, Chris, will stash it all in his cave, and when I ask about that Chinese horse that used to be on the mantle, he’ll be all, “Huh? What horse? Hey, look! A bee! RUN!”
After I left home for good, everyone would pile all their extra stuff in my old room. It’s surprisingly neat now because my brothers cleaned all the crap out of it a few months ago, so here’s a wistful photo of the windows in the corner, the low yellow chest I used to keep my sweaters and mittens in, my curvy old desk chair, and part of this weird blue chair thing that my dad bought in the seventies that he loved and would not get rid of, no matter who pleaded with him to quit piling his underwear on it.
These photos are mostly black-and-whites of my brothers when they were little and color hadn’t been invented yet. Bottom center is our old dachshund that my father named Claudius Nero Caesar; despite being named after three Roman emperors, he was actually a friendly, leg-humping dog. My dad is on the bottom right weilding a paintbrush in a semi-serious photo captioned “Le Grande Artiste.” Every time I look at that photo I think he just got done yelling at my mom to take the damned picture already, Lois! Christ!
I love how Chris is so windswept there in the front with his Chicago Bears sweatshirt, and how Tim’s leg is hanging over the side of the monkey bars, and how I’m all sandwiched in the middle and well into my Overprotected Years. That aside, my dad was quite a good photographer.
I took this one of my parents on their fortieth anniversary (1992).
Apparently the years before I was born were deemed The Sweater Vest years.
My uncle Harry, on the left, age one, and my dad, Roy, on the right, age two. God, they were adorable. Thirteen months apart, for any interested breeders out there.
My great grandparents, Harry and Alice, and their kids (left to right): my permanently bershon great uncle Harry; my grandpa, Roy, in a bowl haircut and a dress; and my otherwise cheerful great aunt, Laverne. (I guess child number four, Albert, wasn’t born yet.) Ayway, Albert later told me that they called Harry Sr. “The Old Man,” apparently he was a real son of a bitch. Thanks for passing that trait right on down the line, Harry! We’re still doing our best to get out from under it, therapy is helping.
I don’t know who they are but they’re related to me and they’re AWESOME.
The happiest day of their lives. My mom’s grandparents, Klaus and Elisabeth Pelto, a mere one generation past being illiterate Finnish peasants. Booyah!
My dad was a WWII nut, and every time you walked up the stairs to his office area part of the house, you were confronted with Adolf Hitler giving you the power salute. Thanks, can we burn this stuff now?
My brother Tim was briefly in the Navy. There are some other photos there but if I start trying to explain the nuances involved we’ll be here all night.
Nice collage, dad. He had excellent picture framing sense.
Dad’s wall o’ books.
Are we done with the military memorabilia yet? Not by a long shot. The helmet in the middle was my dad’s, the other two, god knows, he pried them off the decapitated heads of the enemy? That’s what I’m going to tell Jackson, anyway.
Holy cow, I used to take organ lessons and practice “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” on that thing for HOURS. My mom upholstered that chair herself. And my dad painted that faux samuri face.
Nice stuff mixed with sentimental stuff mixed with grandkids’ school photos in plastic box frames. I’m not telling you anything you can’t see for yourself.
I’m not sure what possessed my father to spend money on an oil painting of a
sopwith camel WWI biplane, but again with the love of military stuff, I guess. According to Tim, this artist’s work is popular in corporate boardrooms. I don’t know what the hell we’re going to do with it. Ebay?
My dad had a pilot’s license and when I was a kid we’d go to this tiny local airport and rent a plane for a few hours and fly around and I’d try not to barf. I mostly succeeded. Photo by my brother, Chris; again, I can see my dad being royally pissed off at anyone he gave his camera to: “Push the button! PUSH IT! DID YOU PUSH IT? OKAY THEN, CHRIST, GIVE IT BACK TO ME.”
And I know it’s not fair to talk shit about my dad on my web site now that he’s dead. Seriously, he was a wonderful, caring, generous man who bailed me out plenty of times and never asked to be paid back. But he was a toughie, too. A few years ago I was visiting my parents and wrote about it (here and here) and my dad read it? Not so happy. He didn’t yell or anything (I was his baby girl, after all), but it was that air of having had his privacy violated that stopped me from writing about my family pretty much altogether after that. But then the other day we were in my mom’s room and I was holding her shoulder to keep her from rolling onto her back while Tim was on the other side of the bed wearing surgical gloves and wiping her butt, and he said, “Are you going to blog about this? You have to blog about this.” I guess we share some morbid satisfaction over revealing our family in unflattering situations. I draw the line at taking pictures of that, though.
Despite all that, my mother is an incredibly lovely person. She’s just old. There’s some mild dementia going on, and she doesn’t like to be moved AT ALL.
I love her so much.
After I took this Tim hustled her into her chair and wheeled her out to the kitchen where I gave her a nice, waterless shampoo and haircut.
I can’t even begin to tell you about the antiquities I found when I cleaned the kitchen. There’s a whole flickr set just waiting to be built around them. Just you wait.