Giants Among Men – the Power of Our Old Family Photos

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This is my Grandfather, Peter Prato, and his best friend, and my father’s Godfather, Leo Taddeo, whom I knew growing up as Uncle Leo.
Williamsport, PA, circa late 1940s.

Uncle Leo passed away a little over a year ago. He ran a restaurant called The Columbia, one of the only places we ate Italian out.

Every time I saw him, he’d shake my hand and kiss me on the cheek and slip me a twenty. It was an insane amount of money for a kid.

After dinner, he’d give me and my sister a single Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

I would have done anything for these men. They taught me to be decent, and loyal, and not to put up with bullshit. They also taught me the power of bribing children

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Photos Sing Songs of our Ancestors

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“The songs of our ancestors are also the songs of our children.” -Philip Carr-Gomm

This is a photo of my Dad and his two sisters, circa 1931.

My Dad was incredible. He was totally present in my life, gave great advice and we were super close.

My Aunt Julia, the one with the glasses, was my favorite aunt. She wrote me letters every month, stuffed with clipped supermarket coupons, chicklets gum and a dollar bill. She used to drink generic brand X beer and that drove my Dad nuts!

My Aunt Hettie, the baby in the photo, was a letter writer too. She had multiple freezers in the basement, packed with meats like a bomb shelter, and an attic full of brand new clothes ordered from catalogs still in the plastic. She was a high class hoarder with a heart of gold.

Above all my memories, though, is that my Dad was the greatest storyteller ever and so funny. He always held court and dressed to the nines. ~ shared by @lizajessiepeterson

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Old Family Photos are like Glue that Holds our Stories Together

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Family photos are often the glue that holds our stories together.

This is my Granny Dot, who lived until she was 92 years old; through the Great Depression, War, serious illness, and the tragic loss of the love of her life.

She grew up on a farm in Australia and during World War II, she was an enemy plane spotter.

My Grandfather was in the Air Force, and was injured when his plane went down in the ocean. He was given leave, and when his unit arrived in my Granny’s town, they met and fell in love. They were married and as they walked from the church, it was announced that Japan had surrendered.

He built their first home, a farm and house by the beach in a nearby town, which my family still owns and which I visit every summer. They had four children. Granny said that my Grandfather used to serenade her as she washed the dishes.

In the early 1960s, my Grandfather was driving home and his Land Rover rolled over and he was killed. I could never imagine how that must have felt for my Granny and her children.

When Granny passed away about a month ago, we took her body back to our family home in the country, where we buried her next to my Grandfather, the love of her life.

We felt like we’d returned her home and that she and her love have been reunited.

The stories I have been told about my Granny and Grandfather, through photos, are absolutely moving. They are profound reflections of the times in which they were taken. And they are deeply human.

As you can see, my Granny was one tough lady. Rest in Peace, Granny Dot. I deeply admire and respect you. ~ shared by @hattiewhittle

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Dear Family Photos, Please Take us Back to a Simpler Time

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Old family photos are a time machine.

They take us back to a simpler time, when an adventure (a big one!) was skipping school and goofing around with you sister.

This is me and my little sister. I remember this day vividly.

My Mom let us both skip school and took us to the mall.
We had pizza for lunch and made our first trip to a real photo booth.

I’m the sassy brunette.
Photo circa 1970-something 😉 ~ shared by @ladyjanevintage

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Vintage Valentine – a Love Story told through an Old Family Photo

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One vintage Valentine love story isn’t enough. Here’s one more for you. Hug the ones you love!

Valentine’s Day is a special day for my family. It’s my Grandpa Bob’s Birthday.

My grandparents were also engaged on Valentine’s Day. This photo was taken in the 1960s of my Mother and Aunts with my Grandpa, on February 14th, and was printed in the Green Bay Press Gazette newspaper. My Mother is the oldest girl, at the end of the line, in the plaid dress.

Unfortunately, I was never able to meet him, which is why I cherish this photo so much. He would have been 90 years old today. Happy birthday, Grandpa! ~shared by @baileyrlarson

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A Legacy of Love, Discovered in an Old Family Photo

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Looking back, we found a legacy of love and a timeless story for Valentine’s Day.
My grandparents, Harry and Ernestine, were born in 1922 and grew up in the same neighborhood.

Harry, my grandpa, was one of seven kids, didn’t go to school much after 8th grade, and was raised by a single mom.

Ernestine, my grandma, was the daughter of an Englishman and was raised on a farm with chickens and cows.

Every summer since my grandpa was about 10 years old, he would go down to the city’s amusement park, Jefferson Beach, and do whatever he could for a few cents.

By the time my grandparents were about 18 years old, my grandpa was in charge of running some of the rides at Jefferson Beach, and had built up quite a reputation as the local heartthrob.

Naturally, when my grandpa met my grandma, she was completely disinterested. And as the story goes, he was crazy about her. After countless rejections, she finally decided to go on a date with him. By winter, he was ice skating three miles down Lake St. Clair every week to have dinner at her parent’s house.

Three children, two battles against cancer, and one Purple Heart later, they were married nearly 70 years until my grandma passed away in September 2012.
They loved each other unconditionally, but more than that, they challenged each other every single day. Even up to the end, my grandma loved to regularly remind my grandpa that she was the girl who couldn’t have cared less at Jefferson Beach all those years ago.

I’m lucky to live with my grandpa, who is now 91 years old. Even though things are getting rough with his Parkinson’s, we still go through old photos at least once a week while he recalls the story of each one. ~shared by @rustyrosebud

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A Long Line of Strong Women

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This is a photo of my lovely Nan, Pamela. It was taken in 1954.

She doesn’t like this photo of herself as it was taken when she wasn’t very well and was going through a very tough time in her life. She had just lost her baby boy from a heart condition he was born with.

Although this photo makes me think of the pain she was in at the time, I also love it because it shows what a strong, resilient and amazing woman she was — and still is.

She is still smiling and being a wonderful mother to her eldest boy (pictured at the front) and looks truly beautiful. She went on to have five more children, the youngest being my mother, who is another inspirational woman!

My Nan didn’t always have it easy, but she always carried on and did her very best. When I look at this photo, it reminds me that I come from a family of strong women, and I hope I carry on the tradition. ~shared by @ZOEASTY

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Memories from a Family Farm in Ireland

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This is my grandmother (right) Anne “Nancy” Prendergast with her sister and two of their farm dogs on their family farm in Accony, Ireland.

The family home still exists and I had the opportunity to visit it in 2010 with one of my father’s brothers.

The Prendergast’s were able to see their minuscule schoolhouse from their front door, though it would’ve been about a 10-minute walk. The schoolhouse has since been converted into a family home. The original sign still stands out front.

My grandmother was a beautiful woman, with an uncanny resemblance to my father and sister. I loved her very much, though she passed in 1998 when I was only 5 years old, of breast cancer.
I think about her every day and I would give anything to visit their home again in the future. This photo helps her memory live on. ~shared by @kimtuohy

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Before their Names were “Grandma” and “Grandpa”

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This gorgeous couple is my Grandma and Grandpa, before their names were “Grandma and Grandpa.” Here, they were just starting their life together. Three beautiful girls and a boy would be born later.
When they met, he dreamed of being a crooner and worshipped Sinatra, and she was a renowned dancer who went for four-mile swims in the Atlantic Ocean.

They were gentle, kind people, with a dash of feisty to keep things fun. She used to love to teach me old time dances. ~shared by @hellomarisaviola

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A Girl Named “Smile”

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This is my grandmother, my “Nain,” in North Wales around 1928.

Her name was Gwendoline but she hated it so went as Gwen, which appropriately means ‘smile’ in Welsh. My sister shares her name.

She loved knitting, cooking, dressmaking, and sharing smiles.

And she loved her husband more than anything. They’d walk 10 miles to see each other and meet at a wooden gate.

She was in the Land Army in World War II, where she farmed frozen cabbages and drank coffee with frothy butter with Italian POWs.

She died last Christmas at 89 years old, weirdly and romantically on the same day as her husband. She was young at heart, but had a weak old heart.

She was like a Mum to me and inspired my company, Welsh Egg Designs.

I’ll treasure these memories, her thimble, her war medal, and this photo. It’s my favorite of her as a little girl. ~shared by @welshegg

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