I can't remember where I saw a challenge in the last couple of days. The challenge was to go to a photo album, open a page at random, choose a photo and explain how that photo came to be taken.
Well, in this house, there are sebendy-leben photo albums. You can't turn around without bumping into a photo album. But I decided I'd do something different. I have this box in which I put any photo I find at random. Now, don't ask me how I find "random" photos. All of a sudden a photo will be on the floor and it will be of some time and place I hadn't thought about in years. I don't have a clue how it got there, where it came from, or what exactly what to do with it.
So I decided to pick up that box, insert my hand, and write about whatever photo I pulled out. This was that photo.
I don't have a clue where this photo came from, if it fell out of a photo album or what, but here it is, so let's examine it.
I can date it as after 1986 because my mother and Ned are sitting on Gilbert's couch, which I brought here after he died. Lawsuit played from 1986 to 1996 and the presence of a good looking couple of posters would indicate that this may have been around 1990, maybe. Could be earlier, could be later, but somewhere in the middle of their 10 year history.
The dogs are Yogi and BooBoo (I think BooBoo is on the top), Ned and Marta's dogs. They had Bert before these two. They had always wanted a pug and got Bert from a breeder. Ned loved that dog. He loves all his dogs, but Bert was something special. Shortly before Christmas one year, Bert got sick. They had him in and out of the vet's and it's been so long now that I can't remember what was wrong with him, but he had to be hospitalized. Ned and Marta had planned to go to Hawaii to be with Marta's parents for Christmas and Ned didn't want to go, but Paul and I promised we would keep track of Bert and let him know if anything went wrong.
Well, things went terribly wrong. So wrong, Ned got on a plane to fly home. But Bert died before he got here. That was the Christmas that my oven wasn't working and I was cooking Christmas dinner at Ned and Marta's house. Paul was helping me. The two of us were so upset about Bert that we spent most of the afternoon sitting there, watching the turkey, talking and crying together. It was a weird, bonding moment for us.
But then they got Yogi and Booboo who lived long lives, as healthy as pugs ever do. Many videos were made of those two. They were quite the characters.
Interestingly, I notice that my mother is wearing the shoes she wears most of the time now.
I am not a house plant person, but those had belonged to Gilbert and when I cleaned out his apartment after he died, I brought them home with me (they lived for a few years, but eventually I kill all plants). The lamp, too, once belonged to Gilbert.
I can't remember which of the kids gave me the Judy Garland poster, but it hung on that wall for years, until I replaced it with a picture of Paul, after he died.
The pictures hanging on the adjacent wall hold pictures of most of our foreign students, by year, starting with 1981 on the top left. Toward the end of our time with foreign students, I was a bit more lax about keeping up the collages, and we had fewer of them in the later years, but altogether it was 10 years, 70 students, 14 countries. We are still in close contact with two, in less close contact with about four or five others. I've connected with some on Facebook, but since they write in their own language, I don't really pay much attention to what they share.
I guess these photos are all upstairs in the "big bedroom" now, because we had the family room painted and what is on that wall now is a picture of David, hung after he died.
There are also a lot of VHS tapes, you may notice. At one time I had over 300 videotapes, most with three movies recorded on them. In one Aquarian-like clean-out-the cupboards frenzy (I don't think I've had another one since), I put an ad on Craig's list offering to give them to whoever was willing to cart them away. I had two takers and I divided them all up between two lawn clippings bags, without sorting at all, and the takers just took them away.
That's not to say that I have cleaned out ALL the VHS tapes. I still have more than show on that bookcase sitting in another bookcase downstairs and two long shelves upstairs, all the "best" ones. I don't even know if they will play any more and since I can't get our DVD/VHS player to play anyway, it's a moot point. I do, however, have a TV upstairs that will play VHS tapes if I ever get to wanting to see one of them again.
Another interesting thing about this photo is that both my mother and Ned have brown hair and now it's a tossup which of the two of them has the most grey (Ned may be winning since he has a lot of white in his hair too).