Saturday, January 13, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 2

This week's writing prompt is Favorite Photo. That is certainly short and to the point, but wow! Which photo should I choose? After my father died in 2004, I inherited the photo books that he and my mom had put together throughout the years. Some of the photographs I have scanned and filed on my computer, so I searched through those for inspiration. I picked the one that made me smile as I received some less than desired health news this week.

Dad, my brother Joe and me
This photograph was taken at our home in Chicago about 1958. My father had purchased a Lionel train set for his oldest son, probably in the late '40s. My older brother Roy had aplastic anemia and was quite sickly. I think dad got the train to cheer him up. Though Roy died in 1950, five years before I was born, dad continued to add to the train set over the years. There was a second train, and while I don't remember the brand name, all of the cars were made of silver metal.

By the time we moved to Des Moines in 1960, a ping pong table in the basement provided the perfect base to set up tracks, buildings, tunnels, people and animals, trees, etc. The trains were not left up year round, so it was like discovering a new toy every time dad set them up.

What I love most about the picture is the sheer joy on my face. My dad worked hard to provide for my mom and my three siblings, so to have him down on the floor playing with us such a treat. I think he got as big a kick out of the train sets as we did, though he certainly must have experienced some moments of sadness each time he put them together.

When my daughter was in 6th grade we attended a literacy night at her school. Her English teacher had a group of parents and students in the cafeteria talking about poetry. He threw out the writing prompt "childhood memory" and gave us five minutes to compose a poem. Here is what I came up with:

train poem
After I read the poem aloud, it was amazing how many parents came up to me to reminisce about their childhood train sets. Apparently I wasn't the only one who carried childhood train memories in their heart. And isn't it wonderful to have photos that can transport us back to a different time and place?


Elizabeth Handler said...

I'm impressed that you came up with this lovely poem in five minutes! The photo is wonderful - the joy on your face is enough to make anyone smile.

Kim Wolterman said...

I loved that train set, and my dad! Thanks for stopping by.