20 September, 2014

Every Picture Tells A Story



This photograph came to me via Facebook.  My husband's cousin's daughter came across it among her grandmother's belongings and she wondered if my mother-in-law (her grandmother's sister) could identify this church sanctuary, decorated for Christmas. I printed it out and took it to my mother-in-law earlier this week. When she looked at it there was an immediate spark of recognition; "where did you get this?" she asked. I explained to her how I came to have this image and asked her if she knew where it was taken, she immediately answered: "it's Grace Lutheran Church in Fort Worth (TX)!"  My dear mother-in-law will be 92 years old in a few weeks. She is the younger daughter (her sister passed away in 2000) of a Lutheran pastor who served congregations in Swedesburg and Essex (IA), Wahoo (NE), Fort Worth (TX), and Altona (IL) Mom's happiest memories surface when she relates stories of growing up living in church parsonages and the advenures that she and her sister had. She was sixteen years old when her family came to live in Fort Worth. In this church she played the piano as a teenager. It was here that she met my future father-in-law. They married here in 1944 (he was on leave from the AAF during WWII). In this church sanctuary their first son was baptized.  I could tell by her wistful gaze that she was reliving all of those moments, she couldn't take her eyes from the photograph.  But then, doubt crept in; perhaps she was scared to trust her immediate response due to her age and her faltering memory, I'm not sure. She looked up and said "I think it's Fort Worth... but I'm not completely sure that I remember."  We needed confirmation. I sent the photo in an e-mail to the current pastor serving this congregation; I explained that Mom was a member and that her father had been the pastor. I learned from their website that the original building pictured here is long gone, the church moved to a new bulding in a new location in 1957, but I was hopeful that someone may recognize this historical photo. My query was met with almost immediate success!  The pastor promptly responded with this message: "this  is a wonderful photo of the sanctuary at Grace in it's original Hemphill St. location.  I have seen this photo or one like it in an album that had been put together for the congregations 100th anniversary.  The large painting behind the altar is still displayed in the Narthex of the church at our current 7900 McCart Ave. location, along with the cornerstone engraving from the original building.  Rev. Johnson's portrait photo is displayed in our hallway among the other pastors who have served Grace over the years noting that he served from 1938-1946, see photos below.    We currently have a 3 members who are over 90 still attending regularly.  I'll ask if they were at Grace at the time and remember pastor Johnson, the one who I am certain was here at that time,  passed away last year, Isabelle Becker.  Her family members still attend."
     
Mom's instinct was right; her memory had not let her down!  I could scarcely wait to get this information and these additional photos to her; she hasn't been feeling well lately and I had a hunch that this would be good medicine. I am grateful beyond measure to the pastor for his prompt reply and his  kindness in providing so much more than I had requested.  Mom was so happy to receive this yesterday... to see her precious Daddy's face once again and to be affirmed in her own recollection of a location that was once so familiar to her. She remembered the recently departed lady mentioned in the e-mail, and even told me all about her and her family!  These memories, more than anything else, bring the greatest joy.  Yes, every picture does tell a story, for someone; something this simple can provide a very bright spot in the life of a loved one.... what unexpected surprises might just be lurking in your own closets, drawers and shoe boxes? 
Life is Good!

17 comments:

Debbie Lou said...

What a delightful story. I love hearing about "the old days". How wonderful that you have such a great resource to bring it all to life. Enjoy!!!

Marie said...

Thanks for sharing precious memories , I can feel the love through the post . Hugs, Marie

quiltmom said...

What a touching story. My mother was given a handful of letters from a relative when she visited him in the States in the mid 1990's. They were letters written by my great grandmother to her sister Zadie (his grandmother). We had never seen them and are the only pieces of my great grandmother's writing that we have. They reflect a great deal about her person. My great gran has been gone since 1949. She died when my dad was 18. She had come from the US at the beginning of the 20th century with her six children. Her husband died before they arrived in Canada of a rusty nail in his hand. He was in his early 50's. She homesteaded on her own for about 10 years before moving to a small town called Olds. She only went back once to visit her family after coming to Canada. She was 79 when she died. The stories and pictures are such treasures for family.
Thanks for sharing your lovely story. So nice for your Mom to have her stories remembered.
Regards,
Anna

Janet O. said...

Very sweet story. : )

Tanya said...

How wonderful that your mother-in-law was able to recall and let you in on her memories of her past. And how nice of the pastor of give you all the added information. My 92 year old mother has a historian "friend" (met through my blog) who has sent photos and even a video of my grandfather (my mother's father). It is such a wonderful gift that I can't give her.

jude's page said...

what a great story, thanks for sharing

jude's page said...

what a great story, thanks for sharing

Quiltdivajulie said...

Wonderful for ever so many reasons ...

AnnieO said...

Exciting to dig up a happy memory for a loved one!

Karendianne said...

This story has the effect of moving your heart and lighting your faith.

StitchinByTheLake said...

What an absolutely wonderful story! Bless you for following up on that picture for her. blessings, marlene

Teatime Creations said...

What a lovely story and such a gift of happy memories to your mother in law.

Brenda Hanes said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

Patty Nordahl said...

This is a wonderful post and certainly gave me alot to think about. My Mom is soon to turn 90 and I am sure she would love to look at some of the old pictures.
Thank you for sharing such a heart worming story.

sandra said...

What a lovely story. And I can a resemblance between the photo of the gentleman and the photo of Lucy Ann. Especially around the mouth area.

Huckleberry stitches said...

What a precious story! My 90 year old neighbor just moved in with family and we used to sit in her living room and she would tell me such beautiful stories almost wishing I lived in those days as well! Thanks for sharing.

phyzz said...

Reading this warms my heart for dear Mrs.Voigt. Having these precious times recalled to her mind and heart of memory are some of the best medicine. What a gift you are to her!