I pity people who don’t keep photographs of earlier times with family and friends. Photographs are like time machines; they can take you back in time. They stir up memories and can make you both laugh and cry.
This image was created from a photograph taken in our first house (a duplex on North Oakes in Tacoma). I don’t know who actually took the photograph, but it certainly brings back great memories.
We watched the moon landing on TV from this house. Boeing laid me off, and I joined the Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) while living there. We had great neighbors . . . it never felt like home, but we started growing roots there.
There is a tapestry on the wall that we probably bought from Value Village. There is a painting on the wall, I created on plywood (both sides) that now hangs on the wall about six feet from my office chair. There is an antique record player under the tapestry, which we eventually gave to Peg’s sister Marie. On top of the record player is an antique (English) bowl and pitcher, which now sits near my baby grand piano in our living room. Next to the bowl and pitcher is a stuffed animal that belonged to our daughter Andrea. “Andi,” named after a fellow art student at UPS was born while we lived in an apartment on K Street (now Martin Luther King Jr. Way) across from Brown’s Star Grill. Our son Del was born when we lived on Long Lake near Port Orchard. Our youngest son, Patrick was born while we lived on North Oakes.
As a long time Air Force sergeant with a million hash marks on his uniform arm, I’m sure father-in-law Ike Harrington wasn’t happy with Peg’s choice of a long-haired husband artist, but he loved his grandkids. He would take them camping and fishing on the Cowlitz River, a tributary of the Columbia River. I think he prefered fishing with the boys, but he fawned on them all. I only remember one activity with Ike and me. We went to the telecast of the George Foreman and Boone Kirkman at the UPS Fieldhouse together. We might have had a wonderful evening of talking and enjoying the bout, but the fight only lasted a few minutes. Foreman pushed Kirkman down at the start of the first round and knocked him down at the end of the round. It never got better for Kirkman. Ike and I had a nice time, but if Kirkman had lasted longer, Ike and I might have had a chance to bond a bit more. I still miss Ike. I would like to kick myself sometimes for not video recording personal stories from Ike, his wife Rita, my parents, my mom’s twin sister, and other relatives and friends.
Foreman vs. Kirkman
While Peg and I lived on North Oakes, we bought a little rental house across the street and then bought a larger house for us two blocks away on North Anderson, where we lived only a short time before buying a larger house across from the gulch on North Fife (maybe six blocks away).
In the image of our living room on North Oakes, I think I am half-way laying down on the couch. I loved that couch, which we bought used from Schoenfelds in downtown Tacoma. It was so comfortable. It was easy to drop off and snooze. After we moved to North Fife and the boys were a few years older, they loved to wrestle with me, get behind me and push me off the couch. The kids had the run of the entire upper floor, where they would sometimes sneak out and walk on the roof. Peg was once notified by a neighbor, Mrs. Unmack, who lived in an apartment across the alley. The kids had climbed out Andi’s window and made their way up the pitched roof. They were aged from four to six and were intrepid. I had to nail the window shut so there was only room for air. We kept the same over-head routine in the next two homes we had. The kids bedrooms were above our’s and they never ventured out on the roofs again.
I keep the photograph on my desk, under notes, along with my journal, and first and second drafts of various writing projects. Each time the photo (a faded 3 inch square photograph) makes it to the surface, I stop and pick it up, look at it, and remember.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.