I Remember Mom: Hold Dear to Heart, Thy Precious Family Photographs

By Richard Mabey Jr.


Framed photographs that are placed in a living room, dining room, or bedroom hold a most magical and charming quality. I first became aware of the magnificent positive power of framed photographs when I was just five years old. Just about every weekend, Mom, Dad, my sister Patti, and I would visit my Great Grandma Mabey, Dora Dolson Mabey, at the old Mabey Homestead in Lincoln Park. Great Grandma had framed pictures abounding throughout her home. Even at such a young age, I was amazed at how it seemed that the entire Dolson and Mabey family history came to life in the living room, the formal parlor, the dining room, the kitchen, and even unto the big L-shaped enclosed front and side porch.

I think that framed pictures that hang upon the walls of a home, or are placed atop furniture, take on a certain quality and magic all their own. It is a way of keeping the endearing memory of loved ones alive in heart, mind, and soul.

At the Knothe Farm, my aunt, Alice Kemmerer Knothe, has a framed picture of Mom and her, in the living room of her home. It sets atop the bookshelf, just to the left-hand side of the television screen. I find a certain comfort in knowing that my mom is remembered and tributed in someone else’s living room. On the surface, it may seem like a small thing, but when you really sit down and think about it, it truly is a great honor to be remembered by others.

Over the years, in serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster, a church youth group leader, a 4-H volunteer, and a Sunday School Teacher, I was always amazed at how so many children and young people had never saw photographs of their relatives who had gone on before them. I remember as a child, my mom spent hours upon hours with me at the kitchen table showing me the pictures of both, the Kemmerer and Mabey relatives who had long since, passed away.

Some of the photographs, though faded a bit, dated back to the Civil War. I am ever so grateful to my mom for taking the time to show me the pictures of the people who forged my family heritage and history. What struck me most, even at the ages of four and five, was the certain determined spirit that bespoke in the eyes of my ancestors. It amazed me, that very few of my ancestors actually smiled while having their photograph taken. They lived in tough times and their photographs echoed the rugged pioneer stock, that surged through their veins.

If you’re a parent, an aunt or uncle, or an older cousin to a young child, please do consider taking the time to show the young child the photographs of family members who have since passed away. There is something all so endearing about teaching a child about his family heritage. And, a picture speaks a thousand words.

I thank my Aunt Alice for displaying the precious photo of mom and her, atop her living room bookshelf. And, in spirit, I thank my mom for taking the time to show me the photographs of family members who had long since passed away, when I was a very young child. An individual’s family history is but a microcosm of the greater history of America itself.

Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com. Please put on the subject line: I Remember Mom.

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