Friday Photo – Stories: Only Years Separate Us

Telling good stories is important. How we frame our self-understanding is largely influenced by the stories we are told and that we tell ourselves.

Wednesday I spoke at a workshop for those who work with teens/youth. I found a way to work a photo of Cohen into the mix.

One of these days we will tell the stories of people Cohen met but may not have gotten to “know.” While Nan is doing well, at 95 we are never sure what the future holds. It will be fun to tell Cohen stories about his family. About GP and GG (3G to Cohen). About Grandpa and Grandma Littleton. Both now gone from this age.

The stories we will tell may give him some context for his own family. For instance, he will wonder about the house his Aunt Tommie and Uncle Jason now live in. How much fun it will be to show him the date on the frame of the closet where the hot water tank sits. He will know that his 3G dated everything. Even when they installed the hot water tank – 4/3/1970.

Enjoy! We do.

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Glad He Paid It Forward

Grandpa Littleton often called Dad to help with an electrical problem at the “apartments.” Grandpa owned a small complex that often needed Dad’s skills. And, mine too. Yes, I have noted here before my very instrumental “flashlight” skills. “If you can’t see it, I can’t see it,” I remember Dad telling me.

On another occasion I found myself glad Dad paid it forward. While we never tiled together, until recently, Dad never shied away from trying something he was not so sure how to do. So, when Jason and Tommie wanted to add a shower to the bathroom in their new house, I volunteered to help.

Nick put the shower manifold in the vintage house, complete with plaster walls. Rusty made some suggestions as to how to prep the walls. Greg answered a couple of technical questions. Then, the work began. Today we finished the work and added in the installation of a new hot water tank. Again, Nick was a capable advisor. Dad answered a question form Texas, and Tommie proved a formidable sidekick.

We replaced a hot water tank installed in 1970. That’s right, 41 years. I doubt the new rig will last that long. (Incidentally, the house was once my grandmother’s. She wrote a note on the inside door frame where the water tank sits. She wrote, “Tank 4-03-1970.” Nanny dated everything.)

I am not quitting my day job any time soon to make my mark as the next Bob Villa. But, I am always glad to think of Dad who “paid” it forward and always tackled a project even if he had never done it before. And, today, I am glad I can return the favor for my own children and their spouses.


2 Years and 8 Months – A Family Mashup

No April Fools here. Two years ago today we were in Eureka Springs, AK. We took in the sites, played golf, and hung out with family. But, we were there for something more. Tommie and Jason exchanged vows, rings, and commitments to one another.

No matter how much you tell someone life changes when you begin sharing it with another person, you must experience it for yourself. And, about the time you ┬áthink, “I will not be changed,” you will be. It is the nature of relationships. How else do the rough edges come off? What else helps bring out the beauty in the other? Ask anyone who has paid attention to their lives while married and those things occur. Sometime subtly. Other times conspicuously.

And once you think you have settled in to what that looks like, along comes another person in the mix. Eight months ago today Craig and Kimberly made this discovery. Cohen Alan was born. Amidst all the fanfare of a prematurity. Wait – he just would not.

Today we will spend some time with them all. A trip to see Nan (a.k.a. GG and now 3G). Five generations in the same room. Wow. We will celebrate with Tommie and Jason, Cohen Alan (and his parents), and the gang. It will surely be a family mashup.

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Friday Photo – Jason and Tommie’s New Digs

In the 1940’s my grandparents built a house in Oklahoma City. We knew it as “Big Paw and Nanny’s.” Christmas, Thanksgiving, and regular visits made this one of our favorite places growing up. After Kimberly and Tommie were born a new designation was needed for my grandparents. They welcomed the “great grands” and quickly adjusted to GP and GG.

After nearly 70 years my Nanny moved into a place more suited to her needs. Even though by some standards her house was small, it became quite large for her after Big Paw died. She has since made one more move to another place more suited to her needs. Who would buy her house?

I confess to thinking about it myself. Nostalgia has a way of luring you to think this way. Read More

Friday Phto – on Saturday

Everyone has a different name for their grandmother. Our is “Nanny.” To her grandchildren it is “GG.” She celebrated her 95th Christmas (94 yrs old). We consider it a privilege to still be celebrating with her.

One of our family traditions is drawing names for ornaments. We then purchase or make an ornament that conveys something special about the relationship shared. In this photo she is reading the note that accompanied her ornament this year.