Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Little Spring Cleaning

Just a little. I'm not much of a housekeeper, but I did begin going through some old photographs that I keep in various boxes, some framed, but most not, and came across several that drew me up short, made me wonder what time is all about, and how it has its way with us.

This is a small photo of my grandmother, Marion Fry Stripling Bailey. (She had two husbands; my grandfather died when my dad was 11 or so, of pneumonia, and she re-married.)



I wish the sharpness were better, so that you could see the expression on her face. She was quite elegant in her youth and a rarity in those days--a well-educated woman who read Latin, poetry, Nostrodamus, treatises on Phrenology, Palmistry, and all sorts of other things. She also sewed for her family and kept the household together through the depression. And, oh yes, she was a teacher for several years.

The photo below, another small, small image, is my father in his high school graduation regalia. He was a smart one. Can't you tell by that ironic smile? This was taken outside our big house on the farm. The window just behind his head is the one I woke up to in the morning, before we moved my bed to the other side of the room.



When my maternal grandparents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, the photo below was taken at the banquet. It hangs in our hall and was getting pretty dusty. I took it down to dust and decided to photograph it for my blog followers. Ulmont and Carrie Mae Campbell lived on the farm that I've written so much about. They survived the Depression, with six children to feed and numerous animals, including the mules I so detested. The yard was full of chickens and turkeys. And plenty of petunias, lantana, and huge, chomping grasshoppers.



The two photos I really wanted to find were nowhere in this group--a headshot of my grandmother in a lace mantilla and me at my third birthday party, in a long organdy dress, sitting on the table beside my birthday cake. When those turn up, I'll let you know. I did find this photo, though, of me and my daughter at her third birthday party. She's wearing the dress I made for the occasion.




I've boxes more to comb through, looking for treasures, those images that call the past back again and again, even as I stand in the kitchen at 4:00 in the afternoon, hearing the dogs barking outside for their supper, knowing I need to put these old photos aside and get back to my numerous kitchen duties. I'll let the other boxes wait till tomorrow. A woman's work is never done, true? And remembering is important work.

5 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

And mostly, it seems to be the women who do the remembering, who hang on to the treasures and trinkets, who keep the albums, re-pasting the faded pictures, who tie up the letters in blue ribbons . . .

Glenda said...

Like you,Kay, I have been going through old photos trying to decide what the younger ones might want from all those black and whites in boxes and albums, separating them according to families, and, yes, Vicki, it seems to be the women who treasure and keep them.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Glenda and Vicki, the danger for me in going through old photos is that I could while away every minute of the day and never do anything else. I wish I did tie letters up in blue ribbons--what a lovely image. We have large garbage can size containers of letters from my grandmother and great-grandmother and other assorted relatives on my father's side. The hand-writing is better than mine ever was, and the emotions, details, and entanglements are all there. Now we have email. And twitter. And facebook.

Evening Light Writer said...

I always love your stories, especially when they have photographs to accompany them. I have a whole box of photos that I need to go through myself but I'm too busy weeding through my books.

You see my idea of spring cleaning is to take all the books that I won't read again to Mr. K's bookstore and trade them for new books. Doesn't really help me reduce my library size but it is fun just the same!

doris diosa said...

Hello Viki, Glenda (love your poem!), Kay & Evening Light . . .

i am trying to make me go through the last box of un-processed archival photos from the 70's, from my wimmin's communities in Los Angeles . . . and most of them are slides! (Slides. As ancient as vinyl 45's. And i have some of them too.) *But* - Kay - you are inspiring me! And i still like letters. Old-fashioned, pen on paper, letters.