November 7, 2014

Family History in Photos

Me and my sister circa 1962.

Quite by accident, I stumbled across a batch of old photos. Some were of me as a kid, others of my family when we were all younger- and one was a photo of two of my grandsons. Quite an assortment, I'd say!

If you find other folks' photos of interest, then please do take a moment to glance through these. If not, consider this a post for my family to find sometime in the future.

Here they are in random order of their scanning...

Two of my grandsons with some bearded gentleman.

It's almost Christmas, so I guess I'll begin with a more recent photograph. Here are Gabe and Parker last year. Their looks tell me they are not all that thrilled to be sitting on Santa's lap! If you remember, Parker is our miracle. Doctors told my daughter and son-in-law that he'd probably be disabled due to part of his brain being undeveloped. They encouraged them to abort, but thankfully, his parents' refused. Even up until a week before his birth, scans revealed his was abnormal. Of course, he was born fully normal. Like all of us, God has a plan for him!

All the kids with my grandmothers.

Skip back to about 1992. Here are my kids and my sister's kids with my two wonderful grandmothers. Boy, I miss both these ladies, but I was blessed to have each of them in my life for 50 years. Each lived to be in their 90's!

Son Josh and baby brother Timothy

1990 was a pretty special year! Our son Timothy was born. Our eldest son, Josh, (now a daddy himself), so wanted a baby brother after having two sisters. His prayers were rewarded. (If I remember, our youngest daughter wanted to name him "Choo Choo Train"!)

Me in 8th grade with a full head of hair a la Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. I recognize the location as being my grandparents' trailer home. In some ways, they were old before their time. But it never stopped me from visiting them.

A new life, a new beginning

Getting baptized in 1977. I had just become a follower of Jesus Christ and decided I wanted to be obedient to the Bible and get baptized. Sure, it was Fall in Southern California, but that didn't mean the water was warm! Look at that perm (yes, they were popular then!) and look how skinny I was. The 'stache was nice, too. Tom Selleck, eat your heart out.

Flashback to my high school graduation in 1976. My Dad had the perm thing going too. I was fairly fresh-faced and optimistic. But only on film. We did not get along until I was about 35 years old. My Dad was tough, hard headed, and prideful. Just like me! We were quite a match. Now, we get along wonderfully and I trust him and value him like I should have all those years.  (You too, Mom!)

How many times my grandmother (a widow at 39) had to intervene. My Dad's Mom must have loved me a lot to put up with all the arguing and lived with us through it all. I was 13 when she moved until my aunt's home. She was my hero in so many ways...

The lure of the islands never wore off.

My sister and I were friends once I left high school, and she realized how awesome I was! (And visa versa!) At 20 and 18, we took off for Hawaii to have a little fun. Did we ever!

Two young and handsome Tafts.
My oldest son and I. First time Dad at 25, I was not very good at it. I'm still not, but I am older and wiser- and more importantly, God is gracious. He was an adorable kid and incredibly smart. Still is- he is a college professor now with a wife and son of his own.

Middle school and the snow. I looked like I was having fun, but even then I hated the cold. Great hair, though.

Me and my Nona. She survived a lot living in our house.

It wasn't until I was much older that I realized not everyone gets to grow up living by their grandparents. I had both my grandmothers, and we were close. (One grandfather, and we weren't close at all. But he did love music, so for that I thank him for passing it on.)
Here's my Italian grandmother. Her real name was Velia, but her friends called her Val. She and my Mom's mother were best friends. Pretty rare.

Young, in love, and married less than one year.

My wife in our first apartment in Brea, California.  Country Woods was the name. Last visit or so, we discovered our apartment complex was still there! The trees had grown in well over 30 years, and the rents were still out of our price range. I remember thinking $490 a month was robbery in 1982. My wife is still this beautiful.

Church dinner. No dancing allowed.

Here we are before we were married. I was in a church I really loved. It was a little old school, though. Dancing wasn't an option for this young adult event. When our kids were young, we held dance parties in the living room. I showed them!

Memere at 90.
My Mom's mom lived close by, so we were always 15 minutes away. I spent a lot of my summers with her at her house. We always laughed playing games on her porch- after the chores were done. She had a second grade education as she had to stay home and care for her siblings after her mother died. She said the funniest things, and she never understood that many times we laughed as much at her as with her. How I loved her! After she died at 92 (after surviving a heart attack at 91!), my Mom wanted to write a book about all her sayings, "Geralda-isms" after her name.

She had this great ending to her life. She's fallen down, hit her head and was in a coma. Non-responsive to anyone. One morning when my aunt's husband was visiting her, she sat up, looked up to heaven, smiled, and held out her hand to Jesus. Died immediately. What a witness to His love in her life. 

Pie anyone?
Once we moved to Colorado in 1989, one of the first orders of the day was finding a church. Eventually we landed at a good church that was more fun but still solid when it came to holding to historical teachings of the Bible. Here's my youngest son hitting me with a pie during our 50's Sock Hop. Dancing encouraged!

London, a boy, and his cannons.
Too long of a story, but our kids know it anyway. We had saved to go see our family in California. In 1998, British Airways began service from Denver to London offering $99 fares each way. It was cheaper to go overseas for vacation. Off we went. My kids still talk about that trip. (My first time at Disneyland Paris, too.)

Making a wish in 1996. One of my all-time favorite photos. Innocence and Hope all in one shot. 

My apologies to my daughters. Even though they are in a few photos, this stack was son-centric. Maybe the next one will be different.

(Photographs copyright Mark Taft.)

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