We got a later start Tuesday than Monday, but it was still very productive. Grampy pulled out another box full of pictures, neatly separated into decades and marked in my father’s writing (an example: “The Big 70’s”) featuring an envelope of shots from the 40’s we hadn’t looked at yet. We filled the better part of two more tapes with recollections and names, and Grampy even pulled out a photo of my great-great Grandfather.
He’s doing really well with the photos. Even though many of the subjects are of his wife’s family, he’s able to pick out an average of 75% of the people involved. It’s amazing to see my grandparents as 18-year-old kids vacationing in Budd Lake or at Point Pleasant; it’s another thing entirely to finally understand the family tree and be able to pick out faces with some degree of success.
During one of the breaks, I decided to head back out into the wind and cold (it’s hovering somewhere in the 20’s this week) to shoot some pictures of the farm. First, I put the Jeep in 4-wheel and drove out to the west hedgerow, where two gravestones have stood among the weeds since the early 1800’s. Then, I shot some pictures of the barn.
When my grandfather bought the house, he also bought the 53 acres it sits on and a gaggle of outbuildings, all of which are now gone. (Total cost in 1953: $6,000) The barn itself still stands, as a testament to its post-and-beam construction. I poked inside, making sure to stick to the sills so that I wouldn’t fall through the rotted floorboards, and shot a bunch of pictures of the beams and joists. I didn’t make it into the silo, which will probably stand long after the barn is gone—it was put up with ceramic brick at some point before my grandparents owned the farm, for a sum of $100. The wooden roof blew off in the last big windstorm of last year, but the structure is still intact. The milking shed my grandfather built fell down long ago, but I have pictures of it from ten years ago when the stanchions still stood and the windows looked out onto the back 40.
There are a wealth of pictures starring my aunts and uncles, and, of course, my father. He appears as a pudgy newborn with his mink-clad aunts and uncles and as a skinny college student home on break. I commandeered the kitchen table and spent the last two evenings scanning photos, everything at 600dpi and a select bunch at 1200dpi (the oldest and rarest, as well as my father’s baby pictures) for a current total of 2.5GB of data.
Today is Ash Wednesday, so we’re getting a late start after Grampy gets back from church. I’m going to use the afternoon after his nap to get another hour or so, and hopefully we’ll make it to the 50’s—which hasn’t even been scratched yet.