Weekly Photo Challenge: The Way It Was

My family, July 1963
My family, July 1963

This picture is the only one I have that includes almost all the family with whom I grew up. All the older people in the picture have passed away. The young people, the kids — my generation — are all grandparents now or soon will be. This was the summer of 1963. July.The get-together was my mother’s idea. She organized the family vacation in the mountains. We had never done anything like it before. We never would again.Off we all went to the Catskills for two weeks. It would be the last time we would all be together. I’m the one sitting in the front with shaggy dark hair and rolled up jeans. Age 16, the summer between high school graduation and college. These were my last days of innocence. Childhood’s end, for me. I do not know who took the picture. My brother probably since he’s missing. This is more than nostalgia. It’s a recognition of how the years have fled and a generation has passed. We — me — are the older generation. This was the way it was when I was young. Since so many people are trying to guess who’s related to who, let me start by saying the all the older people except for the lady in a babushka who I don’t even know at all and can only guess how she wound up in the picture, all the others of that generation are my mother’s brothers and sister. Two sisters aren’t in the picture (Kate and Yetta). They weren’t with us.

I'm in the middle, Mom and my sister Ann are on the right. Code Red.
I’m in the middle, Mom and my sister Ann are on the right. Code Red.

So it’s my mom, her younger sister and two older brothers. Me, my sister and mom are outlined in red for your guessing convenience.

The Green Team: Uncle Herman (Mom's oldest brother), Aunt Ethel, their daughter Ruth (my cousin) and her two kids, Amy and David (also cousins ... second? First once removed?)
The Green Team: Uncle Herman (Mom’s oldest brother), Aunt Ethel, their daughter Ruth (my cousin) and her two kids, Amy and David (also cousins … second? First once removed?)

Everyone else in my age group or younger are cousins. The dark-haired woman who looks like me is my cousin as is the girl sitting next to me.

Blue Group: Uncle Lou, Aunt Pearl (my mother's sister) cousins Marc and Roberta.
Blue Group: Uncle Lou, Aunt Pearl (my mother’s sister) cousins Marc and Roberta.

I don’t know why, but people always guess we’re related. Funny how that works.

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Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

30 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: The Way It Was”

  1. I love this! Can I guess your mom & sis on either side of you? The females have such strong similarities. A photo to treasure for sure.
    On another note, now I have to snap a pic of the train car restaurant a couple towns away…have to keep up!


    1. The one who looks like she ought to be my mom is my cousin Ruthie, who I resemble a LOT. My mom is the light haired lady in the sweater on the far right. Her hair was actually — as mine now is — white. The very blond kid in the front (far right) is my sister and we don’t look much alike but we sound identical. The young lady on my left is another cousin. Yes, strong family resemblance. This is my mother’s family — her brothers, sisters and their kids. There were 4 sisters and 2 brothers. Big family, but not many kids and even fewer in the next generation. My father isn’t in the picture, nor is my brother. One of them was taking the picture. I’m not sure which one, though. I wish I had more pictures.


      1. Funny, your mother is the one I wanted to ask about, “who is she?” She has so much personality in her face. And you stand out with your casual pose…looks like the world is your oyster.
        My aunt owns an antique store, which I have been involved in for almost 20 years. I love looking at old pics and guessing about the lives of the people in them.
        Thanks for posting yours.


        1. Unril I posted this piecture, I didn’t realize how much I look like Ruthie.

          That was a pretty good summer, the last “free” summer I had until I retired 45 years later.


            1. Twins. That’s cute. I have stories about that! I feel we’ve earned some good time too. If only someone would send a check, we’d go have those good times!


                1. I think my ship at sea foundered on a shoal and will never make to the dock. A woman once told me you have to stand by the shore and wave lanterns or your ship won’t find you. Maybe that was my mistake.


    1. Time has thinned the herd in my family. My generation has not been prolific, so as families go, mine is pretty much gone. What remains has spread out over so much area there are many cousins I know of (from Facebook!) but have never met. And never will.


  2. I think you look remarkably like the woman sitting between you and your sister. I think these group family shots are so interesting. I’ve never seen one that didn’t spark interest and conjecture about who is who and what their lives were all about – what went before, why they were all gathered together, where their lives lead afterwards. I do hope the photo is labelled on the back with who, why, when and where – so many aren’t and all the viewer is left with is conjecture …


    1. I do look like her. She’s my cousin. Actually, I’m sitting between two cousins and I look like both of them, but I do look a lot like Ruth. Which is something I didn’t notice until I really looked closely at this particular picture. I don’t have other pictures with the two of us sitting near one another. Well, we are all maternally related pretty closely. Think “Prisoner of Zenda” “-) Without the whole royalty thing.


  3. I love looking at this family photograph. I only met a few of those folks but feel I know all of them from your stories. Maybe it’s because of our Brooklyn roots. You definitely had the Joan Baez look back then.


  4. How wonderful that you have this fantastic photo… I had huge families on both sides (10 kids in my Mom’s & 8 in my Dad’s) and get-togethers, too. Your photo brought to mind some of those special childhood times with my extended families. And, YES, I, too am now one of the old generation. Think we’d better get more pictures to hand down… THANKS! Bette


    1. Unfortunately, I have almost no pictures. I didn’t even have this one. My cousin scanned it and sent it to me. I was in Israel when my mother died and my brother got all the photos. And then my brother died and his kids have all the pictures. They aren’t big on sharing. I wish I had more, even a few more.


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