Here is a gallery collage of photos from my recent series, An American Adventure. In a two-week road trip, I visited eight National Parks and Monuments in Colorado, Utah, and South Dakota. If you would like to see the entire collection of 17 blog posts, click on the banner headline An American Adventure.
Today is the day after Grandpa George’s birthday. He’s been on my mind quite a bit as I do this Grandparent Project. He was the family photographer when I was growing up, and I used to beg him to get out the slide projector and put on a show. I always loved seeing pictures of myself, naturally, but I loved the stories that went with them, too.
We are in the third installment of this family story, and I have introduced four of my parents’ seven grandchildren. In the summer of 1989, here’s what they looked like: That’s Aunt Dharam, Cousin Guru Bakshish, my mom, baby Becca, Susan, Aunt Sarah, Josh and me. I’m guessing Uncle David took this picture. This was the first Cousins Day we celebrated. It became a tradition to get everyone together whenever the Galassos visited the Bay Area. Here are a few more of that visit that include Uncle David and Uncle John:
And this is, I believe, the only photo of Rebecca and Josh with their great-grandmother Marion:My Grandma Marion turned 84 about a month after this was taken, and she died the next spring. (* this one of those places where family members can help by adding corrections, comments, other photos and details)
Rebecca’s baptism was on the weekend of my parents 34th wedding anniversary, September 3. Yes, she’s wearing the same baptismal gown that her sister and her mother wore. We had a party at a Chinese restaurant that included Grandpa Mo & Wendy, GranMarni, Aunt Maggie, Godfather Michael and my dad’s childhood friend and best man, Jim Ajemian…as well as Uncle David, Aunt Sarah & Uncle John, and a few others. These photos were taken by Aunt Maggie. My camera is in one of the pictures, but I don’t seem to have any pictures of the whole company. (* help?)
In the summer of 1990, we visited Los Gatos again and had another opportunity for a Cousins Day and some outdoor fun.
* my husband is absent in these photos, which caused me to remember that I took an Amtrak train from LA to San Jose with these 3 kids, thinking that it would be more entertaining for my active toddler to be able to walk the aisles of the train than to be confined to an airplane seat. What I didn’t figure accurately was that I was trading 10 hours of this “entertainment” for 1 hour of that “discomfort”. I was pretty exhausted by the end of it.
What is The Grandparent Project?
I hate to disappoint anyone, but it’s not a new federally funded program to help grandparents with anything as useful as medical care or as life-enhancing as access to the Arts. However, it is a personal blog project to help connect my children in the Midwest to their one surviving grandparent, my mother, in California. It serves as a family history forum so that we share memories and details with each other. (Hopefully, aunts, uncles and cousins will join in as well!) It’s also a project to motivate me to convert my photographs from prints to digital images.
So let us begin with the First Grandchild: Susan. She was born in Montclair, CA on January 24, 1985, less than a month after my mom turned 50. Roughly two weeks after she was born, Grandpa George drove down from Los Gatos with GranneLouise and Uncle David to meet her…and take pictures. (first photo of Grandpa in The Hat…this will be a recurring theme)In April, the family got together for her baptism. It was a grand affair on a Saturday evening; afterwards, we had a private party at La Piccoletta. Great Grandma Marion came along for that, as well as Godmother/Aunt Sarah and Uncle David (all of 11 years old) and a host of extended family on Jim’s side. (Grandpa Mo, Wendy, GranMarni, Great Aunt Millie, Great Uncle Jim, Great Cousin Joan, Aunt Maggie and Uncle Dave) There was a professional photo shoot for that event, with Susan wearing the baptismal dress that I wore as a baby, too. That photo is in a frame and too large for me to scan, so here’s one taken under the tree at St. Ambrose Church the next morning. There are four generations of brown-eyed girls here. Needless to say, Grandbaby #1 was A Big Deal for both sides of the family.
The next big event in the family was Sarah’s wedding, and Susan traveled north to Los Gatos and then up to Coos Bay, OR (via the Benbow Inn) for that. She was 9 months old and walking, but very petite. (click on the pictures to see them in a full frame)
A month later, the Gran Family came down to Pomona to visit again. In the spring, I had a miscarriage, but that summer, we went up to Los Gatos. This one was taken at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, I think.
By the end of the summer, I was pregnant with Grandbaby #2: Joshua. He was born April 5, 1987. He first met his grandparents when they came down at Easter; his baptism party was in August. Michael Goggins is holding him in this picture, but he had to wait until Grandbaby #4 to become an official Godfather. Let’s just say that he did such a great job at the dress rehearsal that he stole the role for the rest of the show. There was another trip north to LG in June.
In October of that year, GranneLouise did us a special favor and came with us to the Far Western District Barbershop competition in Reno to stay with Josh in the hotel room while I watched my husband compete and celebrated his victory afterwards. For that effort, she won the Choice Nanny award from the quartet, Musician’s Choice.The next visit was in Pomona after Christmas for GranneLouise’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. That party involved the animal noses and the wind-up toys, and you can see that Josh was getting into the spirit of it as a full-fledged member of the family!
Although, he seemed a bit more shy the next day.
This brings us to the year 1988 and the end of Part One. More to come!
“Only connect.” – my mother
“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” – E. M. Forster Howard’s End
“True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self elements. There’s no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that, you are no long caught in the idea that you are a separate entity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh