|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!