"There's One in Every Family", or at least, I would hope so. In this case, I'm talking about family portraits. Yes, I would agree that most people dislike having their picture taken and that includes me. Usually the statement, "let's take a family picture" results in moans and eye-rolling. Sometimes, it may even evolve into the gnashing of teeth and ripping of clothing! We may try to avoid it like the plague, but it is interesting to note that when people are asked what items they would try to save from flood or fire, a great many of them would say, "family photographs".
I can say myself that for the past few years while I have been researching my family history, there have been few discoveries that have pleased me more than those that involve the finding of a family photograph.
For example, for years the photo you see above hung upon the wall in my maternal grandparent's home, but I didn't appreciate just how much this picture would mean to me. The Norris family portrait was taken, probably on Christmas Eve, 1962, when I was just a few months old. (I'm on the far right side of the photo, sitting on my father's lap.) It's far from the "perfect" shot my professional photographer husband would be happy with, but to me it is priceless. Sure, my mother is looking away from the camera, as is one of my cousins, but this precious portrait offers a glimpse into a very special time in the life of my mother's family. My grandparents are obviously thrilled to have all their children and most of their grandchildren present with them on a happy holiday evening. The children, excited to be with cousins and anticipating the presents that await them, are clearly enjoying themselves. They may have complained about stopping the festivities for picture taking, but thankfully, they sat down long enough for the photo.
In subsequent years, the family grew larger. Grandchildren married and my grandparents became great grandparents. It became difficult for the entire family to get together. The large events became fewer and far between and sadly, the Christmas Eve dinners came to an end. As always happens in life, family responsibilities change and become more complicated. Children and grandchildren grow up.
After my grandparents passed away, we still tried to have the occasional family reunion, but we seldom took formal family portraits.
As of this writing, eleven people in this photograph are no longer with us. I treasure each and every memory I have of them, and I am grateful that those are many in number. I carry this portrait, and many others, in my heart. I truly hope that when it comes to a family picture such as this, there really is "One in Every Family."