Welcome to the Street Prophets Coffee Hour, the place where politics meets up with religion, art, nature, food, and life. Come in, have a cuppa and a cookie (or three!), and join us.
My father died when I was an infant, and my sister was born four months later. We moved in with my mother’s family, her parents and her younger sister. When the sister married, she didn’t move out. Instead her husband moved in. They had two children of their own. It was cozy, five adults and four children in a small three bedroom house, but it worked because we made it work.
My aunt’s first child, Stephanie, was medically fragile, and the entire house came to revolve around her needs. Her mother and our grandmother took turns sleeping with her across their chests, and when she would choke on mucus they’d wake and use a finger to clear her throat before it could be inhaled and damage her lungs. Stephanie couldn’t breathe in the smell of cooking eggs without an asthma attack that threatened her life, so every morning the door to the children’s room was covered with a quilt, eggs were cooked, and the house was aired out regardless of outside weather. Stephanie had a lot—a lot— of contact dermatitis. And, when she was 42, she succumbed to a newly diagnosed leukemia.
In going through family things after my grandparents died, I found this very old, very small photo of my aunt with her first child. It was wallet sized, and it looked as though it had been in someone’s wallet for many years. It was torn, with emulsion missing in several places. It was yellowed. It had cracks all over.
Color correction was easy. Replacing the missing eye on Stephanie wasn’t all that hard. But repairing the cracks and tears on Venia’s plaid blouse? Tiresome! But I ended up with a picture that I had reprinted as 5X7, and I sent framed copies to all her siblings—and to my uncle, who was still living.
And while you’re here, check out this week’s community needs list. There’s also a diary that came later, after the needs list was published, that needs some attention. It’s started out slowly because of confusion about the links, but look in the comments for ones that work. Please help by Coloradowoodsman. Note that the goal has been greatly reduced and the time limit expanded. GFM. PayPal.