31 May 2008

F is for Family

This is my grandfather Carl S. Buchanan. Jaunty hat, enigmatic grin…external details that belie his true character. I met him once at a family reunion when I was a child and he never spoke. Just a perfunctory pat on the head as he turned back to his cigarette. Over the years I have heard stories about his life in Tennessee. He lived with my grandmother and their seven children in a small, rural town, sharing a tiny two-room shack. He was a moonshiner and a gambler…evading the law…a picturesque character… But then the other stories have surfaced, acts of cruelty too horrific to mention here. Sometimes we look back at family albums to understand where we came from. But we also look back to see what we have escaped…


(I'm not sure who took this picture but it appears to be a studio picture taken in the 40's or 50's)

4 comments:

Mikael said...

Sounds like a man best viewed in the album, familyablbums can bring forward a lot of emotions both happiness and perhaps sadness, sometimes they even can bring some kind of understandings too but hard to tell in this case though, regarding to your touching words.

Many thanks for sharing this!

jeanne said...

ah, the enigmatic Southern man . . . This is a wonderufl photograph. I'm glad that you have it and that you've shared it with us. I have hand painted portraits of my mother and aunt that my grandfather always carried with him . . .

ulf said...

When I was a boy it was popular to collect and trade "movie stars". They were small cards, depicting Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth etc.
This picture made me think of those cards - your picture of grandfather is a treasure to keep. I am sure it brings a lot of memories - and isn´t it true Rhonda that the human brain works so well and remembers mostly the good moments...?

beatriz said...

wonderful photo, you are fortunate to have this "trace" of your grandfather. but it is your words that bring it together...the multiple versions of family memories. who can know the past? great work, Rhonda, thanks for posting this.