Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Remember Whensday No. 6--- What fun a trip can be

I recently discovered this new meme. Remember Whensday. It's a weekly meme dedicated to sharing your old photographs and memories. I instantly new what I wanted to share.

Last December we traveled to Alabama to attend the ninetieth birthday of my favorite aunt. During the visit the Old Salt was able to copy some old slides she had taken of my family years ago.

With thirteen children to raise,cameras and film processing were luxuries my parents couldn't afford, so very few photographs exist of us as children and we were excited to be able to share those old slides with everyone. Most of the slides were fifty plus years old and showing their age. We restored them as best we could.

The ones I want to share with you today were taken in the summer of 1959 just after my thirteenth birthday. The shots are of me with my sister who would have been almost six. My Uncle is in one of the shots.

In this photo we are all dressed up and ready to go to church on a Sunday Morning. No small feat considering I was raised in a strict Catholic household ( two brothers are priests) and my Aunt and Uncle were not church goers. Plus, these shots were taken at their home in Warner Robins, Georgia where, at the time, Catholic churches were rare.

My Aunt had just purchased the blue sailor dress my sister is wearing. It was to have a very long life. We have snapshots of both sisters who came after her wearing that same dress. I believe it even made the rounds of a few cousins before it was finally retired. My outfit was also new. New to me that is. It was a hand me down from my cousin given to me the day before this picture was taken. When I got home with the dress my father had a fit. He believed the dress was too revealing and I was forbidden to wear it to church ever again.

You will notice that in this shot my Uncle has a tire tool in his hand. I don't remember having a flat tire but, there are several shots of him changing the tire before posing with us. I don't recall why I was dressed up. It must not have been for church because my sister is in shorts. I do remember the shopping trip where my Aunt purchased that outfit for her.

My blouse was a bright lemon yellow and the skirt black and white with bold yellow centers in the sunflowers. I remember because it was hand made, by me. I made that skirt and blouse as a 4-H sewing project. In fact, I used that pattern so often it's possible every outfit I wore all through high school was made from some variation of it.

There are several other things that happened during that trip I recall vividly. But, there is also one important detail I simply can not remember. That would be how we got back to Missouri. My uncle was in the Air Force. He and my aunt had just returned from a long deployment overseas. They came to Missouri for a visit and somehow managed to convince my mother to let us go home with them. We stayed for almost a month but I can't remember how we got home.

The most memorable event that summer reveled what a country bumpkin I was. It also let my Mother know she had been remiss in our education. The fateful event happened one hot sunny weekday when my Aunt decided to take us swimming on base and to the post exchange to do some shopping.

The pool was so delightful that we stayed longer than planned. Then we were doing a mad rush to get groceries and return home ahead of my uncle. At the entrance to the commissary, a long table had been set up where boy scouts were having a fund raiser. I noticed one of the younger boys was sitting on the floor nearby playing with a large rubber snake. Suddenly, my Aunt was lying unconscious on the floor, completely unaware of the commotion going on around her.

My sister was crying, the scout leaders were trying to revive my aunt and soon several MP's were asking me questions. The conversation went something like this:

MP: Do you know this lady? Me: Yes, she is my Aunt. MP: What is her name? Me: Aunt Sister. MP: No! What is her name? Me: Aunt Sister. MP: What is your name? Me: Rita Knight. MP: Is your Aunt's name also Knight? Me: No. MP: Well then what is her name? Me: Aunt Sister. That is the only name I know. MP: Is your Aunt married. Me: Yes. MP: What is your uncle's name? Me: George. MP: George what? What is his last name? Me: Uncle George is all I know. MP: Has your Aunt been sick? Me: No.

Well, you can see where this conversation was going; absolutely nowhere. Before long, we were in an ambulance on the way to the base hospital. The MP's were still asking me those hard questions. Like: Did she have a purse? Did we come in a car? Where was the car parked? And on and on.

By the time we got to the hospital my aunt had started to come around and shortly my Uncle was standing beside my sister and me in the ER. The cause of all of this commotion turned out to be that darn rubber snake. My Aunt was deathly afraid of snakes and would collapse on the floor at the sight of one.

After we returned home my mother called a family meeting and made each of us memorize all the important information we needed to know. Information like our address, phone number, parent's names, and the names of every member of our entire family, all ninety-six of them. Until then, we knew many family members by nicknames like: Uncle Brother, Aunt Sister, Aunt Cissy, Aunt Tumph, Aunt Kacky, Skeeter, and Cricket. Who new they were actually named Edward, Eleanor, Bertha, Margaret, Eddie, and Christine.

To share in the memories of the other members who are playing along this week click here.


  1. it's good to walk down memory lanes!

    Come down my memory lane , too! Have a great week!

  2. Rita, very pleasing walk. And I have to chuckle at the commissary bit. Sounds like the MP wasn't a native. Mom says they used that all the time; calling relatives by "sister" or "brother". And really when you look at it now, aren't we all?

    Too, the dress in the top photo, same idea with her parents. But it was a different time and place. I oft wonder how her parents would react, to to-days fashion trends...

  3. This whole story is a hoot! I can also remember not knowing the full names of my aunts and uncles back then. And the outfit you made? I think I made the very same one for 4-H.

  4. Great post! The story about your aunt fainting and your exchange with the MP is a riot.

    I'm glad you were able to get copies of the restored slides and look forward to seeing more of them. Thanks for playing this week!

  5. Gotta tell you, Rita, I SO enjoyed this post --and your pictures, of course! An "only child", I used to gravitate to classmates who had large families... and look, I'm doing it again!


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