Thursday, May 20, 2010
I of course also found many many, many pictures. The Kirchthurn’s arrival in America in the mid 1800’s is all documented in pictures. I believe they span the entire history of photography. They sat with life did span amazing advancement in photography. The first family pictures are Daguerreotype. Those are images on metal. The ones where people never smiled because they had to sit there forever and when you touch the image you ruin it…not that I have ever done that…shhhh! He also had tintypes or ferrotypes depending on how much of an antique snob you are. These are the little square ones in the vases. They usually have Civil War guys in them. We have one that looks just like a dark haired Dave…very strange. Then he had black and white photos on beautiful professional portraits on thick rag paper and cardboard like paper. Then once grandpa Frank was a baby we see cute little self done photos on thin paper, off all different sizes, and finally standardized size photos with Kodak printed on the back. In his later pictures we found lots of Polaroid images, then color, first horrible faded 1970’s color, then nice vibrant 1980’s color. I saw the Irony that images of a vibrant young Frank were trapped in faded black and white. That handsome man bore little resemblance to the crumpled old man slouching in his wheel chair at his nursing home, his wooly mammoth eyebrows, and frowning jowls permanently captured in perfect techno color. I much prefer antique pictures.
Of course we couldn’t with any family pictures. But we take out the postcards, All of Grampa Frank and his father’s great grandfather Phillip’s Masonic items, paintings and prints, and some old magazines. From my family who I am not as fond, I sold two buckles from my father’s antique sterling Concho belt, and some jewelry.
We are going to see if we can donate a lot of Grampa Frank’s Roxbury treasures to the City of Boston.
In fact I am emailing this picture to the Boston Globe. Their webpage has places for old pictures.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
He was born in Boston in a cold-water-flat with a shared bathroom. I don’t know what that really entails . He always made it sound wonderful. Then he and his family bought a lovely house on Dabney Place in Roxbury. At the time probably the 1910’s Roxbury was beautiful suburb; an oasis from the harsh inner city. They bought old Captain Dabney’s house up in a nice hill where young Frank could actually see the ocean.
Well, he could see the ocean for a few years until pretty Roxbury slowly became over developed and over populated. Soon his view was of houses, then businesses. By the time the ocean view was forgotten Frank was married and living in his own place near by. In 1945 his parents had died and he, his wife, and his eight year old son Billy (my husband Dad) were all back on Darbney Place. By the 1960's Billy was married and moving out on his own. By the 1970’s Frank was the last original resident of his street and perhaps the entire neighborhood. The houses around him were torn down and replaced with institutional gray stone public housing projects. Sadly for Frank he is stubborn like all of the Kirchthurn men and refused to move.
He and Grandma Rosa lived in Roxbury during the infamous 1970's Boston busing / race riots. In the 1980's he lost his beloved partner and wife. Leaving him alone in his hostile neighborhood. In the 1990's he lost his son Billy to cancer, and most of his friend to old age. Frank still refused to move. He continued to live in his home on Darbney Place. He lived through muggings, daily verbal harassment, vandalism, and even day time house invasions, but that old goat would not move! Finally early in 1998 at ninety-one-years old his health forced him into an assisted living community.
Beloved Grandpa Frank. When he passed in 2001 we become the keepers of his memories. 94-years of life put into brown cardboard boxes.
To Be Continued
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
“Good bye.” Alice says. He ignores her.
“Are you picking up or dropping off. He asks.
“Good bye.” Alice says. He ignores her. I give him my prescription and he starts typing in the computer.
“Alice we say good bye when we leave. Please stop it" I say into her reflection in the rear view mirror. The clerk is done typing and asks for my new insurance card. I hand it to him.
“Good bye!” Alice says. “Momma? Why he not say good bye to me?” Unfortunately he is still right there in the window. He rolls his eyes I smile and laugh nervously. He snaps the window shut.
“Alice please stop saying that to the nice man. You say good bye when we leave.”
“He not nice he no say bye to me. GOOD-BYE!” He ignores her “See? What wrong with him?”
“Alice!” I turn around in my seat and give her the angry mother glare.
“What? Why we not going?”
“Not yet, we’ll go soon. Theb you can say good bye!”
“O.K.” She says as her little head drops to her chest. I turn back around to find the clerk waiting for me. He is holding my insurance card out of the window. I take the card and thank him.
“O.K. Alice now we are going….You can say good bye now.....” I swear I hear crickets chirping in the parking lot. “Alice?....” Nothing. The clerk rolls his eyes at Alice and then looks over at me.
“Did she want to say something?” He asks smiling, yet seeming extremely annoyed. I see Alice in the rearview mirror. She has pulled her blanket over her head.
“No. Never mind.” I say and quickly drive away. As we round the corner to the street I hear a muffled yell.