Dad: The Archive


We will be some time going through the archive of pictures and other effects our dad left behind. There’s a lot there I don’t remember having seen before. For instance, my brother Chris brought out a binder of transparencies last night that included some stunning shots of our mom during their engagement and of my dad in the years before that. I’m posting a couple of my favorites from other times here.

Above is a shot that surfaced in the last decade or so. That’s Dad, at almost four months old, on December 26, 1921, which happened to be his saint’s day. His parents lived in Alvarado, Minnesota, a village just up the Red River of the North from Grand Forks, North Dakota. There’s something in the way my grandmother is bent over him, showing him that little ball, that seems almost profoundly gentle, attentive, and caring. (I think this is partly because she’s the one in focus here, not my dad). That short northern Minnesota winter daylight that just barely plays across her forehead also gives a feeling of a fleeting moment captured.

The picture below is one of Dad with my son Eamon, his first grandchild. I think Eamon was about eight months old when my brother Chris took this during a brief visit. I’ve always been struck by how serious they both look. It’s a beautiful picture of the two of them.


4 Replies to “Dad: The Archive”

  1. He will be greatly missed. We are lucky we live in a time with the ability to leave behind mementos for our loved ones to remind themselves of us with.

  2. You’re right about living in an age where we can leave mementos. But looking through the stuff that has survived my mom and dad’s passing, I’m a little overwhelmed by how much there is and the best way to get a handle on it and present it. And that’s *after* pictures and objects have been winnowed down from large piles to small piles over the years.

  3. Nice pictures of Pop…Over this last week I found myself reflecting on these images of him, trying to reconcile the impish child in the with the condition of the man in front of me. He certainly grew up–and old–but the kid in the pictures was right there all along I reckon, to the very end. It was also great to see all his progeny gathered around that week, at Ann’s as well as at his side.

  4. John, I kept trying to connect Dad to all those earlier images, too. You’re right–he was there, somewhere. Absolutely the best thing for me was getting to be with all of you and with him in those last few days.

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