- Next up for WATCH: Beauty and the Beast at Castaways Rep, American Buffalo at Port City, and California Suite at Providence.
Anderson, Heart of a Dog
“When L died, our teacher said, Every time you think of her, give something away, or, do something kind. And I said, Then I’d be giving things away non-stop. And he said, So?”
Category Archives: Family
I’ve been going through her old scrapbooks looking for interesting images of my mother. Her treatment of her prints was far from archival, so there’s a lot of noise in the scanned images.
I’ve been trying to bring a little order to the scattered family history notes and photo albums that my mother had pulled together. She had done some good work, assembling scrapbooks with clippings and ephemera (she has my grandfather’s draft card and her own press passes) and neatly typewriting captions for the images. Unfortunately, more recently, she started reworking some of her materials, generally not for the better. Sometimes I trust her research on how this Boyer was related to that one, and sometimes I recognize her newer handwriting and discount those notes.
This photo, which I can date on internal evidence to about 1918, of her mother’s side of the family, is fairly sound. In that year, my grandmother Bessie Williams (second from the left) was 14. I don’t know whether cousin Vernon Friend (in doughboy uniform) was about to deploy to Europe or whether he had returned for this picture. Mom’s notes say that he married a Lula, and that’s all I know about him. The smallest child, in the low-maintenance pinafore, is great uncle Wilson. Great2 grandfather John Childers Friend, with the impressive beard, is first on the left.
Even more valuable is this image from about 1909 of my maternal grandfather’s family. The Sullenbergers were somewhat camera shy, and didn’t get together for family reunions the way the Williamses did. Grandpa was born in the Josie Hill neighborhood of Piqua, so perhaps the unpainted house behind them was located there. The patriarch is Phillip Henry Sheridan Sullenberger, born in 1865 and no doubt named for the Civil War general who grew up in Somerset, Ohio and commanded cavalry in the Army of the Potomac. I’m glad that I inherited Phillip’s nose rather than his male pattern baldness. The other adults are Phillip’s wife, Clara Bagley Sullenberger (at right) and Phillip’s mother Mary (we don’t have a maiden name for her). My grandfather is the towheaded lad between his father and mother; maybe he’s scowling because of the cigar that Phillip has taken out his mouth long enough to pose for the photographer.
Some snaps from my recent trip to Sacramento and suburbs to move my mother into her new place. Mom wasn’t fazed by using my mobile to leave a message for her friend Priscilla.
Doing what she loves doing (and is dang good at), my aunt Takeko (my mother’s brother’s widow), cutting melon for breakfast. At the end of the week, I used Taki’s guest room as an operations base. She’s camera-shy, like me.
This was the end state to which Rita and I worked for six days: an empty apartment, carpets vacuumed but hardly blot-free.
In the neighborhood, the old Tower Records store on Watt will reopen as a thrift store next month. The Gottschalks down the block is also empty. But the staff at the Starbucks just north of here are the friendliest I’ve ever found.
I moved the Mac that has the scanner attached to another place in the house, one more convenient, less underfoot. So of course to test it after relocation I did some scanning. My ostensible purpose was finding a new buddy icon. And that turned into a more general wading through all the family albums. This snap was taken in front of a duplex my grandfather owned and rented out to my mom for a year or two. It must have been after my mother’s fender bender, because you can see the crimp in the Chevrolet logo. I don’t think this image of me looks anything like other pictures of me at the time. Except for the extra cookies I’m carrying around.
The two girls in back are my uncle’s first two daughters, Rita and Terri. Rita’s now a journalist in Sacramento, and I think Terri still lives in Germany. That’s my grandparents’ rancher in the background. We’re “sledding” in the open field/backyard of McMakens’ place. I don’t know why we didn’t go someplace with some vertical. The field (maybe an acre?) used to be empty, just some trees in the back, with a gravel drive along the edge. Then McMaken’s Scottish terrier died, and he buried Charlie in the field, with a big marker you could read through the picture window in my grandparents’ living room. I think my grandmother grew roses on that trellis that you can see between the shrubs. I remember learning that word as a kid. Trellis.
Most of the photos in the albums are in pretty shabby shape, and I am not the Photoshop monkey that I used to be, so you’re seeing all the scratches and specks. Especially this overexposed image of my mother and father in Sacramento in about 1952. This must have been before they were married. Maybe it’s because they’re both smiling so broadly.
I guess I wasn’t at this reunion—according to my notes, I would have been in graduate school by then—but I attended my share of them. The Williams family always met in Fountain Park (somewhat exotic for me, being on the other side of town from where I lived) and rented out the picnic room. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Helen and Wilson (see the image on Flickr for the callouts) were my maternal grandmother’s parents. To me, they were just generalized old relatives from the country. What I particularly like about this picture is that everyone is looking in a different direction. No retakes in 1978.
About all that I remember of this place on Spring Street is that we had a neighbor named Myers. But in the local dialect, it sounded to me more like “Mars.” Must have been cool to have one of Ray Walston’s compadres living next door. I don’t remember that rabbit, and I certainly don’t remember that suit.