Memories

As I wrote earlier, my cousin Jody sent me some new pictures yesterday—pictures I had never seen before.  These are pictures taken in the 1940s, except for one that was taken in 1953.  Here are the first three.

First, a picture of my grandparents, my uncle Maurice and my aunt Lynn, and my aunt Elaine.  My Uncle Phil probably took this picture because he is not in the picture, plus he was always the one taking family pictures, thank goodness.  Jody, his daughter, has taken over that role in our generation.

gussie elaine  lynn maurice and isadore

Next is a picture of my grandparents, apparently taken the same day.  You can tell how short he is, since my grandmother was only about 5’2 herself.

Isadore and Gussie
Isadore and Gussie

Here’s a picture of my grandmother Gussie alone—notice those remarkable Brotman cheekbones.

Gussie

The next two are very special to me.  First, this is my grandmother Gussie with my cousin Jeff, Jody’s brother.  She is obviously proud of her first grandchild. She was never much of a smiler, but you can tell (well, I can tell) that she is happy in this picture.  This picture was probably taken in 1946 or 1947, as Jeff was born in April, 1946.

Jeff and Gussie c. 1946
Jeff and Gussie c. 1946

Finally, my favorite, a picture of my grandfather holding me on his lap with Jeff lying in the kiddy pool at his feet.  This is my favorite for two reasons.  First, it shows how much I loved my grandpa and vice versa.  As I’ve said before, he died before I was five, and I only have vague, non-specific memories.  Pictures like this one reinforce my emotional sense memory that my grandfather and I loved each other.

Jeff, Amy and Grandpa 1953
Jeff, Amy and Grandpa 1953

Also, these last two pictures are special because they bring back memories of my cousin Jeff.  It’s ten years ago yesterday that we lost Jeffrey, and it still seems unbelievable that he is gone.  He was my first crush (after my father, of course), my role model, the one who teased us, the one who helped at every birthday party because he was the oldest cousin, the one who tolerated having seven younger cousins and a sister all chasing him around.  He taught many of us to swim, to ski, to dive. He was always making us laugh; he was always fun.  We all adored him, and despite the fact that we probably drove him crazy, we all knew he loved us.  We miss you, Jeff.

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