Starting off a new year, clearing out attic accumulations, and I struck familial gold.
One small strip of film negatives, and the usual, holding it up to the light, hoping for recognition of something or someone.
Then the flood of childhood memories came to me. Overwhelming me. I knew instantly what that little piece of celluloid amber was. . . I knew her immediately.
The shape of her ebullient face had been etched on my early childhood brain. It was Mama at her most resplendent: she was seated in their getaway car just after her wedding to Daddy.
June 7, 1964. Atlanta, Georgia. A Lutheran church on Peachtree Street. My parents both spoke of Reverend Buck, the man who married them. As I grew older, Mama would recall the pre-marital counseling she and Daddy went through with this clergyman, whom they both respected. Mama had been married and divorced once before Daddy. A second marriage in the good Rev’s church was a tad, tee-niny bit scandalous in those days. The story goes that he looked at Mama and asked her to promise that this would be her last marriage. And she did make the promise. Ironically, it would not be her last divorce. Even more ironically, she and Daddy, despite divorcing after 26 years, would remain as close knit and live together for the remainder of their lives. After all, a promise is a promise.
But I look at these images and I see joy. I see Mama at her Southern (Baptist) finest. Beautiful, put-together, in love, and oh, so appropriate. A second marriage in those days meant wearing white was simply not done. Hence, her powder-blue, knee-length sheath and short finger-tip veil. She was the vision of second-wedded bliss. And my father, so handsome, behind the wheel of his ’57 Thunderbird.
Daddy, decidedly un-Southern Baptist, was not confined by these trappings. He couldn’t have cared less that Mama, four years his elder, had been married before. He was gobsmacked by her beauty and untamed, wild spirit. She was a number, I tell you.
Back to Rev. Buck. . . in addition to The Promise he asked of Mama, his other stipulation about officiating this union was that there would be no photographs allowed in the church. As Mama would retell their wedding-story, Daddy would chime in to add his recollection, “Rev Buck said his church would not be turned into a ‘three-ring circus’.” Their photos would be taken outside the sanctuary, during their reception and the getaway.
I’m so grateful to have these photos of a 30-year old Thelma and a 26-year old Gordon. I remember the “important papers” file where she kept them all, and several other family treasures that have since scattered.
Recently, I’ve asked Mama to come be near me, as she’s been very quiet since her passing. Daddy is with me alllll the time. But Mama is a little more selective in her visits. Well, she dropped in this time with this big hug, reminding me of that little gap between her teeth and the red lipstick that was her calling card. I love you forever, Mama and Daddy.
I’m absolutely amazed this little bit of your history turned up and what a beautiful bit it is. I knew and grew to love Mama T and I’m so happy you found that tiny bit of amber.
You two would have been GFs. And I think you were. Love you, my Lil.
These are so precious and beautiful and your words building the story for the rest of us makes it even sweeter. I’m so happy you found this and shared it with us.
My dear, precious KD. You knew them. . . every time I went home for a visit, you were one of the only people they willingly “shared” me with. They loved that we had so much invested in each other.
I love this amazing find!
Loved me some Thelma and Gordon! Such great photos!
I absolutely believe G man visits on the regular! Love u Pamela!
Curtis, I’m honored you took the time to check this out. As our circles get smaller, the people from our pasts who remember our loved ones become more special, too. Much love, C.
I love this! What beautiful memories and I love their story. Love your blog posts.
Conchita, I had a lovely memory of your Tia this weekend. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. With love, Pamela
Amazing pictures! And it’s not just an explanation but a vivid and detailed story about two people you have shared. Very sweet and touching memories! ~ 🌸💕
You have such a gift of writing … what sweet memories and beautifully documented for your family … love these old southern escapades … love you P