Kindred Kind

BeckyB’s October Squares: Kind


Cincinnati, Ohio – circa 1914

I really love this photo of (as my Grammy from Tennessee would say) my kinfolk. I discovered it in a musty box full of envelopes and files labeled “old family photos” – which might as well say Treasure Chest! I was kinda excited, to say the least.

The photo was taken when my grandfather Opa was about 8 years old. There he stands front and center, squinting and smiling at the camera. His grandparents stand behind him. The others most likely include his parents (in the back), uncles and aunts, but I am not entirely sure.

I was thinking of Opa and my other grandparents when I was writing yesterday’s post about life during the COVID-19 pandemic (and wondering how they would have dealt with the same crazy issues I was). I realized that he and Oma were 12 years old when the 1918 pandemic hit. My other grandparents were 26 and 32 years old. None of them ever mentioned it, even though I imagine it must have been a traumatic time. When I was growing up, Opa was full of stories about the “old days” but surprisingly (I think now) what happened during the 1918 pandemic was not among them. I wonder why.

I recently asked my cousin if our grandmother Grammy had ever mentioned the 1918 flu epidemic. She said no, Grammy never talked about it…except for one fact…my aunt (my cousin’s mom) was born in 1918 and was infected by the virus as a baby. As a result my aunt (Grammy’s firstborn) developed lifelong cardiac problems.

My cousin also told me she has read that once the 1918 epidemic was over, nobody ever talked about it. Nobody wanted to. Perhaps it was easier that way.

Still…I wish I had asked more questions.

26 thoughts on “Kindred Kind

  1. oh this is such a glorious photograph. What a wonderful find. Just fabulous . . . . and you are not alone wishing you had asked more questions. Think we all have these thoughts. There always seems time to ask until its too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great photo! And it is interesting, curious to me that people I knew from older generations were very reticent about negative events and “personal” things. What little I heard about mainly concerned gardens, menus and recipes, and that my grandfather worked for the railroad. Seemed like the all wanted the Past to stay put–at least on my mom’s side; and my step-dad never said a word about anything but the town he grew up in–nothing about people. On my Cajun side, it was a whole ‘nuther story–those folks talk about all manner of people and the “cuttin’ up” they enjoyed when they got together. Different strokes, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, it is interesting as to why some people open up and some don’t. It may be that nobody asks or they just don’t want to revisit what may have been more unpleasant than pleasant. I kept letters from my grandparents which give me a glimpse into a few things. Photos and old home movies are another peek. šŸ™‚


      1. Initially my comment was going to be LONG and detailed–but as the details re home movies were quite personal, and the whole surrounding story equally so, I figured I didn’t need to put it all out there šŸ™‚ I’m sure your home movies would be wonderful!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No need to share what you’re not comfortable sharing – I totally understand. My home movies range from my childhood through parenthood. Some are better than others, but a fascinating look back no matter what (especially the older ones with no sound…).


  3. This is a great photo. You can sense the happiness! I think you may be right that people don’t often want to talk about the hardships, the pain…most often those are the things we bury deep.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I do believe there is an expense. My father never talked about the war, but it all came out when he suffered from Parkinson’s related dementia, and it wasn’t in a good way.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That kind of thing just festers and takes its toll on the body. As described in an excellent book titled “The Body Keeps The Score.”
        Sorry about your father. That must have been tough for all.

        Liked by 1 person

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