Tuesday, December 17, 2013

From Generation to Generation

While going through all the family memorabilia I’ve received from my aunt’s belongings, I can’t help but sense that déjà vu feeling. Have you ever experienced that, looking through family photos, and noticing that a grandparent’s baby pictures look just like your newest niece, nephew or grandchild?

Perhaps “history repeats itself” is a motto for genes, too.

I see these pictures of my mother and her sister—my aunt whose photos these were—and it brings to mind similarities between myself and my own sister.

While we don’t necessarily look exactly like these two, enjoying time together at their maternal grandparents’ home in Tampa, Florida, there is a certain similarity between these sets and times I remember in my own childhood.

Now, of course, I look at pictures of each of these women as adults and not only do I notice how different they looked as adults than as children, but I also have to admit that I don’t feel they look like either of the next generation’s siblings.

And yet, they are undeniably related. There is that similarity that, somehow, I can’t put my finger on, but can certainly see.

Somehow, some message of self gets passed along from generation to generation, sometimes hiding, sometimes coming straight out and shouting its appearance.

Now that we have the technology of photography for these several generations, we have that ability—and that blessing—to be able to line up a chronology of the family’s generations. We can, if we take the time to look, track that iteration of genetic identity from generation to generation. Sometimes surprised by the recognition of features we felt were our own identity—but now discover “came from” other specific relatives—we can sense that connection to past generations of relatives we may not have even met.


  1. Ah! that familiar porch.

    You got me thinking about which relatives my niece and nephews might look like... :) as well as the dozens (if not hundreds) of photos I have a porch of a house the family rented "down the seashore".

    1. Wouldn't it be something to locate that porch again now?

      I've always enjoyed showing younger relatives photographs of their elders as young people. Always an eye-opening exercise--as well as handy device to connect the generations in another way.

  2. I look at old photos and see that my brother and my great nephew look very much alike...and they are Uncle and great nephew....it is fun to see:)

    1. What does your great-nephew think about that? Is he old enough to weigh in with his own opinion?


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