I've had this picture on my bureau forever, but its been a long time since I really looked at it. It is one of the few, perhaps the only, picture I have of my dad when he was a kid. This is with his brother, Ross. If you look closely, there is a young girl peering out the window. I am sure that is my dad's sister, Jenny. Why she wasn't included in the picture, I don't know. Sad thing is I will probably never know since they are all gone now and I have long lost touch with anyone who might know. In fact they are probably all gone too.
My guess is that this picture was taken circa 1917 or '18. My dad was born in 1911, Ross in 1912 and Jenny in 1913. There was an elder sibling and a younger sibling, both who died as children. Again, there is no one to ask any more.
A lesson I am learning, probably much too late of course, is to ask questions and listen to the stories your elder family members tell. Someday, as with this picture today, you might want to know why they were dressed in those odd little suits and the girl banished to the indoors.
What I do know is that my paternal grandfather was a very stern man and had little patience for his kids, especially after my grandmother was killed in a fire. Again, I don't know the details of any of it. Another family mystery to ponder on this Father's Day. What I do know is that even just this little snippet of history my Uncle Ross told me years later helps me to understand my dad and why he was the way he was when my brother and I were growing up. He was what they would call "bullied" by his dad and charged with taking care of his younger siblings. He rebelled from what I understand, and it was a family in turmoil. A story for another blog.
In any case, I am thinking of my dad today and how he tried his best to be a good father. Although my dad was a life-long alcoholic, he worked everyday, kept a roof over our heads and food on our table even though he was either working in the factories or out drinking in the evenings. He always came home at night, though. That I interpreted as security I guess, because it was our "norm".
No father is ideal. I was lucky to have a dad who cared as best he could. And even though I sometimes hated him and wished he were dead, now that he is, I wish I could tell him one more time that I really did love him.
Happy Father's Day, John Beyer McMurray. May you rest in peace.
This is the back of the picture. It was common to get photos printed on post card stock in those days. The note says "Will be up when the roads get good hope your all well. Russell
Russell was my grandfather. This is the only souvenir of my grandfather I have.
Happy Father's Day, Russell McMurray.