A Nice Surprise: When I was three!

I was at work last week feeling the tiredness of “It’s been 10 minutes to 5 for the last hour!” when a woman came in. That’s not unusual; I work at a non-profit that’s open to the public. But she was carrying an envelope. She looked too business-like to shop. And she asked if Tammy or Terry S—. still works here. *She mispronounced “S—.” but it was recognizable as my maiden name, and Tammy or Terry could be my sister. I thought she was selling something so I told her my sister volunteers often but was not present and could I give her a message? She said, “I have some pictures for her.” Then she told me her name was Linda F—.

Here are Linda and me on the porch.

Here are Linda and me on the porch.

I remembered her instantly: she was my best friend when we were 3 years old—a person can change a lot in 50 some years, but I remembered her name! I remembered her big brothers, and the house I lived in! And I remember playing on the porch and in the yard with her! We moved during the summer these pictures were taken.

Me and my ride, age 3!

Me and my ride, age 3!

My twin brothers were born the winter before this picture. I remember my mother trying to feed two hungry babies at the same time. She propped me up with pillows on the davenport holding one baby and trying to administer a bottle, while she took care of the other. I told her that there were just too many babies and she should give one away! I remember wanting to have a bottle of my own! Hey! I was barely 3!

My twin brothers. Too many babies!

My twin brothers. Too many babies!

Best of all, Linda gave me a picture of my parents and me together looking happy in the sunshine. While my mother was still able, we talked about the old days and she was very surprised at how much detail I could recall.

My parents and me, when I was 3.

My parents and me, when I was 3.

She said that her family came to visit us when we were in grade-school, but I didn’t remember. Apparently my mother sent her family Christmas newsletters for many years and that is how she knew about the place I work. She knows someone who shops at our store and that triggered her memory; she was in town on other business and remembered the old pictures she had.

Just a few old pictures.

I was so surprised that I didn’t ask Linda much about where she lives, what her life’s been like, how to reach her… But I’m so grateful that she went to the effort of finding me to give me this gift!

Memories live on.

*all names have been changed/disguised.

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12 thoughts on “A Nice Surprise: When I was three!

  1. A beautiful post! Where did you grow up? Looks like those amazing American life documentaries we used to watch as kids. Even at six I was obsessed with food and I spent days persuading my mom to teach me to make pumpkin pie! Your brother on the left looks someone loving life and the other one like a curious one. :)

  2. I was born in an industrial town in the lower peninsula of Michigan in the US in the early 1950’s. We (my family) moved to the northern peninsula of Michigan later in the summer when those pictures were taken. 1955.

    PA!!! a history course for you!!! PA!!! I was hoping to be young and contemporary on this blog! nevermind.

    When I look at pictures of when my daughter was born, they also look like a documentary. Anything pre-digital could look that way! fading colors in snapshots and all… And she is only 30 this year…

    You might be right about the twins. Pa-1 does seem to live as life comes to him. His crooked smile even then. Pe-2 is curious but plans ahead.

    The pictures of me then are unclear. Perhaps you are a fortune teller….

  3. That’s so cool, Tess. What a shame you forgot to get contact information, but maybe you’re old friend will get in touch again.

    Nice pictures, too. If I knew about your mom’s death, I’ve forgotten, and I wanted to say that I’m sorry for your loss, even if I’ve said it before.

    It helps to try to remember the good times, and your old friend may have aided you with these wonderful pictures.


  4. Hi Marcia,
    Thanks for the thoughts. I had an email from a friend who told me that her mother had died so I was feeling quite soppy that day. So the gift of the pictures was especially nice.
    Late breaking news about this post:
    I wanted some reprints of the photos for my sister even though she was not yet born when they were taken, but the store had problems with their printer and I only got them today (Won’t go back there for prints!!!), so I emailed my sister about my post—she doesn’t read my blog. She called me to say that it was she who has been sending out tons of Christmas cards/newsletter for years and years, many of them for my mother, who could not for so long! It was my sister who kept L.F. updated!!! Now I understand why L.F. asked for my sister! And I can send a thank you to her.

  5. Tess, life is amazing. For one thing, I cannot believe your sister doesn’t read your blog, but then I have no siblings and am pretty clueless about how things work or do not work in such relationships.
    And to find out that your sister has been doing the Christmas mailings for years, and had been keeping L.F. updated, just boggles my mind. It’s nice to know, however.

  6. Marcia,
    My sister doesn’t read my blog because she is not interested in Japanese cooking! I wouldn’t read deep meaning into that. Nor do my brothers, sisters-in-law, and friends. None are interested in Japanese cooking.
    My daughter might be interested, but she says it makes her homesick, and she currently does not have a kitchen of her own.
    If I had thought about it, I should have realized that my sister was doing the Christmas mailings—my parents have lived/visited long-term with her for many years—but I gave up the card-exchange thing so long ago that I forgot that people do that.
    So, you are right, life IS amazing. We all have different interests; we are all changed by living, and surprised by it, but memories go on…

  7. Tess, I’m not especially interested in Japanese cooking, either, but I love your blog. LOL. Everybody is different, that’s for sure.
    My sympathy to your daughter — I’m sure she misses her mom’s cooking, but she’ll have her own kitchen one day.
    And memories do go on — you create new ones here all the time, and you remind us of others….

  8. Hi littletess,
    I’m so happy you spoke up! These pictures just made me happy on a day I was especially down!
    (with love)

  9. Hello Tess,
    When I read this post, I wanted to write you some comments. I didn’t have time.
    Now I read it again. And I cried a little again…
    Because it is good story. And in this picture your parent were young . I am thinking about lot of feelings.

  10. Hi Lucy,

    Sometimes crying is both happy and sad. I wonder what memories are, that they can bring so many feelings of longing, happiness, loss.

    The place where I work is sort of like a resale shop where people bring in things for us to sell. About 2 weeks after my mother died, I was sorting through a box of donated sewing materials when I found some labels for sewing into handmade garments. They said, “Made with love by Lillian.” (That’s my mom’s name.) It made me cry, but it was not bad.

    Do you know what I mean? I’m not sure I understand myself.

  11. Tess,
    Maybe, I understand your feeling. Today we went to my mother’s house. We worshiped it to a family’s Buddhist altar. My mother in the photograph laughs. I remember that I went to London and Hawaii with my parents. I think it is good memory.

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