Sweet Caroline… you think of a song and instantly finish that line. I think of a fabulous lady that tells amazing stories. I am lucky to call her one of my dearest friends. Caroline asked if I would be interested in an out of town job. Her family was having a reunion of sorts… but it was also a special party. I cannot tell it as great as she does… so here is an excerpt from her email to me:
“Years ago when my grandmother and her sisters/cousins/friends were young, they visited some big city that had a “Great Book Club” and they wanted to get a book club together in Marlin – so they called it “The Not-So-Great Book Club” because, well, it was Marlin. (you would have loooooved this group). They called themselves the Not-Sos for short. Somewhere along the way, they started throwing an annual Groundhog Party. Always centered around Groundhogs Day and at the Allen House. The party was for 21 and up and ALWAYS had a piano player who knew all the songs of the day and everyone would sit around the piano and sing. We actually have “official” songbooks (put together by the Not-Sos). All of the songs are from their generation – I grew up with them. I love them. The members determined who got to come if you weren’t a family member of the a member – as I recall, it was a BIG deal to come. If you declined too many times, you were nixed from the list. As the years went on, the generations got older, not as many people knew the songs, got too old to come, got too old to throw it, died, etc. the party started being more of a bi-annual event and eventually, it just didn’t happen. Occasionally, we’d have a “reunion” of sorts and we’d find a piano player who knew the songs – like at my dad’s 60th – and some family would come – but to Palestine for his birthday, not for Groundhog Party. Pretty much all but one of the founding Not-Sos are dead now. But our family always talk about and remember the party – along with all of the other things that were so wonderful about our family – like Happy Hour every Wednesday, Christmas breakfast (a tradition since WELL before the Depression).”
So a few weeks ago, I loaded up and headed to Marlin, Texas. I have heard stories of this family for years and every time I feel like I just lived a part of an amazing storybook. As I arrived, I was greeted by many people and warned by a few that I had no idea what I just walked into… I smiled and laughed and knew that it was going to be a great night.
I read letters from long ago, looked at pictures that told stories like I have never seen before, and listened as everyone chatted and caught up on what had been happening in their lives.
Before we got too far into the night we took one big family photo. A way to document all that had been there that night for an event that was sure to be memorable…
One quick picture of “the eyebrow”… I actually haven’t heard the story of this one yet (note to self: i need to ask about this one)
Shortly after this, the piano player arrived and promptly jumped right into songs from WWI… it was absolutely amazing to listen to.
Everyone crowded around the piano and sang the night away. Love, laughter and music… I don’t think it gets any better than this.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this amazing night. Thank you for welcoming me into your family and sharing your incredible stories with me.
It’s been a long journey with many ups and downs… a few more downs lately than ups. However, this past weekend, the wig arrived and Sandy got to go home from the hospital. It was a good weekend. She had a couple of really good days… almost as if the wig, made with her daughter’s and granddaughter’s hair, gave her a burst of energy and faith to keep improving.
I am completely humbled to have been able to document this incredible gift to an amazing woman. I am reminded that life is so precious and it’s the simple things in life that make it all worth it.
Sandy, you my dear are an inspiration to all that meet you. Thank you for allowing me to come over this weekend and be a part of this with you and your girls.
You are beautiful.
A little side note: Sandy was in a lot of pain this weekend but was one heck of a trooper. She made it thru a few hours with us, chatting, cutting her hair, styling it and watching as we chatted and laughed like girls do. Her humor was evident in small little bursts… in this moment below, Sara had just finished curling her hair and was going to just pin it over to the side. Sandy slowly reached up and pulled both sides of her hair up, pulled out the bobby pin that Sara had just put in place and smiled big in the mirror and said after a moment “this is how all the cowgirls wear their hair!”
Sandy – you are by far the prettiest cowgirl I have ever seen.
Much Love to you and your girls! Thank you with all of my heart for allowing me to document this small piece of your journey. Brooke
They grow up before you know it. As a mom, it’s crazy to see our kids … that aren’t really kids anymore. They are growing up and they are amazing.
TJ set up this photo shoot, on his own. His momma didn’t even know until a few days before the scheduled date. I thought it was sweet that he wanted to do this and took the initiative to get all the details ironed out.
TJ & Maddie wanted some pictures done for Valentine’s day. Shy in front of the camera… absolutely not! So we rocked out some cute pictures, lots of laughing, and a few pieces of bubble gum… i think they each had three pieces in their mouths, trying to get a good bubble going
Mommas had to get a quick photo with each kid… beautiful mommas made beautiful babies…
One quick outfit change and maybe some of my favorite sports pics, ever!
Thank you, Maddie & TJ… you both are absolutely incredible!
Meet Hope… she is beautiful and funny and full of life. A conversation with her is always full of great surprises.
Hope wanted family pictures. This turned out to be a bigger task to get everyone’s calendar coordinated than we imaged. However… the day finally came. Freezing weather or not, we were going to rock out family pictures because we weren’t sure how long before we could get everyone together again.
As I sit here and write this, Hope has not seen her images yet. I’m blogging some of my favorites… because, well… I can.
Something I don’t do often is show the ones that I love, knowing that others may not see the beauty in them that I do. Hope and her family are PERFECTLY imperfect. They are beautiful and strong… because of the chapters in their life that brought their stories together.
Hope and Gary… I am honored that you have chosen me to be your family photographer. Thank you!