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The holidays are always a time to think about family. When I was growing up, the holidays meant travel because we would go to family or family would come to us. And often, after dinner was eaten, dishes washed and presents opened, the downtime would slowly fill with family stories – and sometimes even family photos.
I’m thinking about family connections a lot for another reason too.
I’ve launched myself on a completely overwhelming project: to organize the boxes and albums of family photos in my guardianship as well as my own rolls and rolls of prints – then to scan, tag and upload them so that captions can be added and corrected and prints can be made for anyone who has been looking for a copy of that exact photo since forever.
Flipping through the stacks, I’m flooded with memories, realizing that it hasn’t been just me growing and changing each year but my entire family. The family portraits from the early 1900’s are followed by graduation portraits, wedding photos – and then first Christmases.
Even as I wade deeper and deeper through the boxes, wondering how I convinced myself this was a good idea, I’m grateful for the obsessive labeling habit I got into after helping with tornado clean up in high school and aunts, uncles and cousins who I hope will step in to help me correct and caption many of these images once I get them scanned and posted!
The thing is, this project isn’t just for me, or even for us. There’s a whole new generation of nieces and nephews having their first, second and third Christmases now. Their photo albums may be online instead of on the shelf. But the people, and the meaning, will be the same.
Tags: aunts, Chanukah, Chanukkah, childhood memories, Christmas, Christmas Eve, cousins, family, family gathering, family history, food, gifts, grandparents, Hanukkah, Kansas, Lawrence, memories, Pittsburg, presents, project, the next generation, uncles, Wichita
I’m grateful for a lot of things, but for this blog entry, I’ll just pick one to show you.
My parents came to visit last weekend – and since they’d already come about halfway around the world, we decided to go just a little further.
And then we headed home.
Tags: Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, family, family trip, grateful, hike, hiking, Oak Creek, parents, red rocks, road trip, Sedona, Thanksgiving, visit
Tags: cacti, cactus, cathedral, gardens, plants, road trip, San Xavier, services, Tohono O'Odham Nation, tour, wak
Last Friday, I went to San Xavier for the first time with a diverse group from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University including their newest graduate class, the current Humphrey Fellows and this years Murrow Fellows.
San Xavier is a cathedral built by Padre Kino among Tohono O’odham people in an area they named Wak. Today it’s open to the public and maintained by the non-profit group Patronato San Xavier, which also give tours of the building and grounds.
Our guide, Judith, first showed us a model of the structure and explained that the restoration process now underway is strictly allowed to maintain and preserve the existing buildings but not add or embellish anything. She led us through the courtyards and side rooms while telling us about the history of the Tohono O’odham, Padre Kino and the Franciscans who came later. The museum holds locally made baskets and art as well as books and vestments saved by the congregation during the years that the church’s future was uncertain. (I’ll post photos of the grounds and chapel next.)
After the tour, some people climbed the hill where early morning services are often held while others bought fresh frybread in the front plaza in front of San Xavier before we all boarded the bus and drove away.
Tags: cathedral, Edward R. Murrow Fellows, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship, international students, journalism, road trip, San Xavier, services, Tohono O'Odham Nation, tours, wak
Since moving to Phoenix, we’ve only been back to Kansas once – a lightening quick holiday tour of four cities where friends and family live, in wicked winter driving conditions and with an international flight out of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor to catch within hours of getting back to Arizona. It was a good but hardly thoughtful trip, a blur of hugs & faces & snow under that familiar big Midwest sky.
This time we flew back (thanks to an unbelievable sale on airfare). Cutting out four days of driving gave us more time, and there were fewer deadlines and less homework to keep track of.
Should it have felt like a trip home?
As we drove through places so familiar, I felt recognition but not nostalgia. I realized that even as we pulled out in the U-Haul just over two years ago, the house my family owned for 20 years was already becoming past and I had to remind myself to take one last look in the side view mirror, in case I wanted that memory for later, just before we slid around the corner.
Today, I can show what matters most to me about Kansas in a single photo of my cousin’s bookshelf.
This is why, wherever I end up, I’ll be drawn back from time to time, making the drive or taking the flight.
And from now on, this is the time of year I want to visit. The green of summer is at its lushest, the rivers are high and the earliest fields are beginning to boast hay bales instead of faded corn. In a far more modest way than the flashy bright pinks and oranges of the desert sky, the sunsets can be spectacular.
OK. Maybe there’s a little bit of nostalgia after all.
Tags: family, family history, Jayhawk, Kansas, Lawrence, MCI, roadtrip, rock chalk
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
Tags: Arizona State University, ASU, ceremony, Cronkite, graduation, journalism, May, Phoenix, Tempe
The only thing better than getting to see the world is getting to see it along with someone who means the world to me – thank you for everything…
… I can’t wait to see what comes next!
Tags: Abu Dhabi, Arizona, Dubai, Happy Valentine's Day, Kansas, Lawrence, Mexico, New Zealand, Nogales, Phoenix, Sharjah, Sonora, Taupo, United Arab Emirates