Every once in a while, I go through all of my foot lockers and folders and boxes to either walk down memory lane or hoping to find something that was on my mind. Years ago, I wrote a story for the paper on my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and the affect it had on me and my family and dealing with all that came with it. A few days later, I got a call from a lady who said she had grown up with my mom and had a bunch of pictures of her and my uncles and grandparents that she had kept for all these years. My mom passed away not too long after so I met this lady who gave me all those photos, which ended up being incredible. I was extremely grateful for all of them and shared them with my brother. One folder I forgot about because we were in the middle of all the funeral dealings, was a class picture of my mom when she was ten years old.
Not sure if you have had the great fortune of seeing a pic of your mom at ten years old but it is equal parts of beautiful, fascinating, wonderful and sprinkled with curiosity. There she is with curls and a smile I would recognize anywhere. My mom in the fourth grade at Aiken Elementary in 1949. I laugh because the first thing that came to mind was that was before Elvis became a household world. Of all the things to think about, that was number one. I know, I am weird but that was the first thing that came to mind. Then reality hit me. The next year her best friend, my uncle, would die in a plane crash with 30 other high school seniors coming back from ROTC camp in South Carolina. Seven years later, my brother was born and five years after that, my sister. Married and divorced and married again to my father. Then in 1968, a fireball named Joe was born. And life happened.
I wondered as I sat there and looked at her at ten years old, did she have any idea? Did she have any idea what her life would look like? Did we at ten? I wanted to be a pro football player and didn’t care about anything else. But my mom, did she know? I have touched that picture and her face a million times. Was I like her in school? Getting into trouble constantly, good trouble I would say, and loving every second of being around my friends and everything else that came with it?
Did she know? Did she have any idea what would happen in the next ten, fifteen, twenty years? Someone said if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I hope my mom just knew she was loved by great parents and three big brothers and eventually, three of her own children. A picture is worth a thousand words and I would argue that it is not. It is worth ten times that.