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20140414104238_00043A20140414104238_00023AI’ve been thinking a lot about family lately. We had a small family gathering/reunion a couple weeks ago. My dad’s siblings all came, along with spouses, a few of my cousins and my “little” brother.

Nancy, my Uncle Charles’s wife, had had hundreds of family photos scanned. Thank you, Nancy!

We spread the originals on coffee tables and pulled out a magnifying glass to examine the old photos. But we also went new tech and plugged a thumb drive into the TV. My dad argued with his brothers and sister about who was who and who wasn’t. We never could get them to agree on a few people, and those were the ones we could at least begin to guess who the people pictured were. Was that Dad or Uncle Charles? Was that really Grandpa? (Bonnie & Clyde!)

I now have nearly a thousand photos of people in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, family, but people I don’t know.

I know a handful of family names: Sims, Clenney, Freeze …

I can guess that we have more in common than I might want to admit. I was one of three oldest girls cousins at the gathering. We hadn’t seen each other in years. We couldn’t even identify the last time we three had been together. But we discovered in each other traits we recognize in ourselves. We are smart, mouthy women. We have quick tempers, but we will defend those who can’t defend themselves. We love intensely, passionately.

I bet that description fits a lot of the women in those photos. The photos show men and women in love, playful, stern. They show children, many, many baby pictures. Brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents. The photos show hard-working people. I don’t see evidence of riches, except in the family ties and traits we share.

I’m proud to be a part of this history, this family. I hope to identify these family members and learn our connections. 20140414104238_00003A 20140414104238_00005A 20140414104238_00011A 20140414104238_00026A 20140414104238_00036A  20140414111339_00006A 20140414111339_00002A