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Family of nine

April 28, 2006

This may be the archetype of the single wide or maybe where FEMA got the idea for those trailer they have Katrina victims living in.

This photo was taken during the depression in Tennessee near the Tennessee River. A family of 9 was living there!

People are amazingly resilient. As I look at that statement I realize its not always true. Many, many people didn’t make it then and many don’t make it now.

This is the first of a series of photos that I will use as a springboard to discuss what they bring to mind.

+ my mother and father grew up in the depression. They were affected differently by it. My mother who is coming to visit today will not spend the night because she doesn’t want to impose. Yeah, that’s weird. When my parents were first married my great uncle who I am in part named after and my aunt whose funeral I wrote about several months back would invite them to eat supper and my mother would refuse saying that they didn’t really want them to. I believe in her mind taking that food off of their table was unthinkable.

+ any shelter is better than no shelter. And this one is awful close to no shelter. How do nine people even fit in that?

+ the people:

The dad and two boys – they posed for the picture. I wonder about the conversation that led to the pose.

the child (girl?) at the edge – did the photographer notice – did she sneak in? She is smiling. This is the only life she has known.

+ there is an electric pole in the background. This is when TVA was bringing power to the Mid-South.

Sometimes we are like the little girl. We have not tasted anything else in life and we are genuinely happy. But sometimes we realize that things are not as they could be and we wish for more. We know there is this power available and we can see it changes the way people live.

When things are tough, then we will welcome whatever shelter we can find. But sometimes we leave these periods wearing a scar. We can’t accept the grace offered to us. We were like my mother so deprived as a child that it stung to see others take from our table…we can’t trust the heart of the one who really does want to give to us.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2006 10:07 am

    It is amazing that as we progress as a people our list of “needs” grow. New things come along and we become accustom to them. Then before long we have to have them.

    + were these the “good ole days?”

    + the news item of this day was not how our children are so over weight.

  2. April 28, 2006 10:18 am

    This is one of the best illustrations of grace and acceptance that I’ve heard. Thank you for the food for thought today.

    It’s hard to be objective about ourselves and how our past experiences shape our worldview. The cataracts we wear, to quote Lee Camp.

  3. April 28, 2006 3:54 pm

    I love your photo-journaling.

    The little girl makes me think of one of my Daddy’s favorite sayings “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”….maybe we would be better off not knowing how grand the next door neighbors outhouse is…

    But it is true that we often can not accept a reality beyond the deprivation we have known…

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