Under storm, searching the past

I think I’m under storm. I think God is bombarding me with thoughts and ideas and people. I have tried to write about a few of the things circling in my head but they aren’t ready yet. I can tell they are coming together though, the storm is beginning to calm. But I thought that 4 days ago too, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, here’s a picture from a project I am working on, that may or may not be part of what gets filtered out of my storm.

Marie & Mildred Moehrke, mother & daughter.

This is my dad’s mother, my Grandma, and his only sister, Mildred, Auntie Mimi to us, and Sis to her brothers. The photo is pretty battered and has only the words, “Mom & Sis in Washington DC.” See the capitol building in the background just past my Aunt’s elbow? I never thought of my grandma anyplace other than her house! I was fairly young when she passed away so I have just a few treasured memories. My Auntie Mimi was married to a military man and they were stationed lots of exotic places, including Washington DC. I’m sure Grandma was missing her daughter as much as I miss my daughter…but had the wherewithal to go on a visit hundreds of miles from her Wisconsin home. Unlike me, although I have moved to be closer to my daughter, and to the Washington DC area. Which is why this picture fascinates me.

Look at how close they are standing, tucked together, and look at how grand those hats are! My grandma wore a plume?! How fancy is that?! And Grandma is wearing white gloves, and what appears to be a fur coat. I even think I remember that coat. Maybe. If I had to guess what color my Aunt’s coat is I’d guess blue, her favorite color. And, it’s surely wool and lined in satin. Her beret was probably from France, one of the places they lived. I’m also guessing this was taken in the early 1950’s. My Aunt passed away in my more recent adult years, after suffering with Alzheimer’s. I don’t ever remember talking to her about these years. I think sometimes we get curious too late but that’s probably a result of our own experience creating curiosity.

Both of these women had a profound effect on me. I appreciate art and have a sense of decorum from my Aunt. Besides being named for her, I am told I resemble my grandmother right down to the way I walk. And, I value a comforting hug, having been hugged by both of them, as often as they could. They were a safe haven of love, always. This is especially firmly implanted in my brain.

Blessed to live in such a historic area of the country, I think about who walked in the same area, looked at the same mountains, breathed the same air. Just a few days ago I found myself marveling at the idea that I might be driving over the exact place George Washington walked to his office in Winchester. I reach out and touch walls and buildings with a sense of awe and admiration, and sometimes weep at the history. This picture connects me even more to my new place. My relatives have been here before. I so wish I could have known them back then.



About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
This entry was posted in Family. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Under storm, searching the past

  1. Wendy says:

    I just LOVE looking at old pictures! I have so much fun wondering about the people and what their lives were like and what they were feeling at the time of the photo. How wonderful that you have this picture! And I love your grandma's plume! :o)

  2. nance marie says:

    it is good to hear the fondness in your words for these two.

  3. Robin Arnold says:

    Thank you Wendy and Nance Marie for stopping by and for your comments. You are right, I was very fond of both of them!

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