They say one picture is worth a thousand words. I find that statement to not always be true. This is my thought as I stand gazing at the round little face before me. The chubby little toddler is dressed to the nines for her birthday. Her plump frame is wrapped up as if she were one of the birthday presents herself. Yes, this is a picture of me. I can’t help smiling when I look at it.
Despite the fact that it is winter in the Midwest, I am wearing a white short sleeve blouse with big puffy sleeves. The round starched collar is trimmed in white lace and a black velvet bow covers the top button. My round little tummy, that’s wanted to be with me ever since, is covered by a plaid wool pleated skirt with suspenders to match. Even though the picture does not reveal anything below my dimpled knees, I am sure that I wore patent leather Mary Janes with white anklets.
My hands are visible and tightly closed as small children often do but, I had a reason for keeping them closed. The reason being that they were full of gumdrops. Yummy gumdrops that are still my favorite after all these years.
Look closely and you will see the big brown eyes are focused, not on the enormous cake, but on the large dish of those same gumdrops. Of course, the drool running down my chin along with the chipmunk cheeks are the result of a few of those same gumdrops finding their way into my mouth.
This is the first picture that you can finally see some hair on my head. I was as bald as a bowling ball when I was born. My mother had to put bonnets with big wide brims on me because otherwise people thought I was a boy.
There is also some sadness when I look at this picture. It doesn’t tell the whole story. My parents loved me dearly but they were so young that they were ill-equipped to deal with marriage and a family.
Despite the clothes in the picture, I remember days without food or heat or new clothes. Sometimes we had nowhere to live. After this picture was taken, when I was 18 months old, I was placed in an orphanage along with my brother because my parents couldn’t take care of us. Six months later they came and took us home.
My Dad couldn’t deal with the responsibilities or hold a job for any length of time. and he took it out on my mother. She, in turn, found fault with what he did continuously as a result. I remember my Dad was so handsome and my Mother was very beautiful. They loved each other and all of their children. They just were not ready to deal with all that entailed. I vividly remember this but, the child in this picture, sadly, had no way of knowing what life would be like in the years to come.
My Dad passed when he was in his fifties. I still miss him. It’s a little girl thing, I guess. Mom is in her nineties and well.
I married a wonderful man and have a son, daughter-in-love and grandchildren that fill my cup to overflowing. Our years together have been nothing remotely like my childhood.
I am very thankful that God is good.