When I was sifting through old photographs the other day, I was struck by the fact that I’ve got a lot of photos of children: children in sets and clusters of two, three, four and more; children sitting on front steps, at picnic tables; boys in pup tents, wearing scout uniforms; girls in rowboats wearing little white blouses and camp kerchiefs; boys AND girls posed next to their bicycles.
Most of those children grew up to be my grandparents or my great aunts and uncles; two of them grew up to become my parents; seven are first cousins…one of those children grew up to be me!
This is a photo of my mother and my aunt in the front walkway of my grandparents’ first house on Kirk Street in Boston; Martha (left) and Hope Howell (my mother is the younger).
On the back of the photo, in my mother’s handwriting, it says “circa 1924.”
I asked her once about the date.
“I know it was 1924 or earlier,” she said, “because my parents bought the house on Eliot Street, right near Jamaica Pond, in 1925—this is definitely the Kirk Street house.”
She remembered clearly the trellis for the roses, the wooden steps, the big rhododendron; she remembered being told to hold Hope’s hand in a gesture of sibling companionship.
“I was mad about that,” she told me, grinning. “I wanted to be on my own.”