THE FAMILY ALBUM: From behind the frames

While waiting in the basement for my blanket and pillow cases to finish in the spin cycle, I opened a few drawers of a 8’-0” long dresser and found two time-ridden picture frames of the ornate, somewhat cheap metal, with a bit of a treasure trove!

One was a photograph of Mother from, I believe her non-yearbook, formal senior portrait. The other frame was a photograph of me at about age five.

But, packed away behind those front portraits were several other images. I now remember these frames at my grandparents’ home in Elwood, Indiana, at the corner of South A Street and 8th Street.

Diana K. Barmes, 1963
Diana K. Barmes, 1962

Then, from the frame with my images…

Darin, 1970
Darin, 1968

The 1968 photograph was a little haunting as I was coming off a few years of illnesses, rheumatic fever being the big scare.

Grandpa Leroy had finished basic training for the Air Force in Miami, Florida and was in training for radio operator in Racine, Wisconsin when he was swept under with rheumatic fever and discharged from the service after recovery.

Mother said my fevers would get outrageously high and she would bathe me in the bathtub with alcohol and ice. A number of times I was in the ER at Elwood’s Mercy Hospital. Finally, in 1968, my tonsils were removed and most of my dramatic illnesses abandoned my weakened body.

However, my specialists now believe that was just the beginning of RRMS, marking several practical symptoms for other things.

I knew this photograph existed and that there was a lull in the first born photograph parade during this period. To see it now, seems to be a “missing piece” of some scattered puzzle that’s finally coming together, somehow.

My memory stretched back to age two so I can clearly recall a number of memories from this period: Mother’s calming presence and touch, curled up in my father’s (Danny) lap while he read history books to me, Grandma Donna making me rest when I wanted to join my uncles in play, and Grandpa Leroy’s somewhat sympathetic touch as he held me. I had our local physician, Dr. Walter Wirth, and Indianapolis’ Methodist Hospital’s Dr. William Wishard, but it is my family’s loving, supportive hands I recall most.

This photograph was a good discovery; a comforting and somewhat reassuring one.

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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