My family in 1941

Jesse and Kitty Flanders 1941This is one of the oldest photos in the family album. It’s a photo of my great grandparents Jesse and Kitty Flanders at their old farm in Washington, Maine. They’re the ones standing in the very left side of this photo. That’s my grandfather crouched down wearing the tie. I’m not sure, but that might be my grandmother, the one who is hard to see holding the little brown jug behind the young lady on the tricycle.

I come from a long line of very silly people. I mean, just look at ’em. They all have buckets on their head. Who knows what they are drinking, but I’m sure it ain’t milk. I never knew Grammy Flanders to drink, so she’s the only one there without a mason jar full of what I assume is beer. I think it’s beer because it looks dark with a frothy head.

Let’s look a bit further at this photo. Off to the left the tree has no leaves. Way back in the field, there are some traces of snow. This is  late March, early April, 1941. The lawn is still muddy from snow melt and the grass is not yet standing. I bet it’s a Sunday after church. That’s why they are dressed in their Sunday best.

This isn’t just a celebration after a long Maine winter. They may not know it, but this is the last hurrah a few months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the US gets involved in WWII. My grandfather would later join the Army and be wounded in 1943 during the Battle of the Bulge.

So let them have their fun, because there are troubled times ahead for these people. Hitler frightened the whole world, and things would never be the same after that. My grandfather would spend all of 1945 in the hospital after having a metal plate replace the missing part of his skull. His chest and stomach was scarred from the shrapnel of shell fire. He walked with a limp, and was later confined to a wheel chair in his old age.

Yes, these people deserve this moment celebrating springtime in Maine. Let this photo remind you that you never know what’s just around the corner. Live life to its fullest. Love one another. Great Grammy and Grampy, I raise my glass to you!

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