Sunday, March 22, 2009

Opal and Clyde...My Newest Relatives


It happened last month that we went to the same antique mall twice in one rare weekend, my husband and I...he saw this photo the first day, I saw it the second. He hadn't mentioned it to me, but when I spotted it, I said "Oh look, someone is selling grandpa and grandma!" it seemed so sad to me, and my husband said he'd noticed it the day before. He said we should bring it home.


And I've imagined all kinds of things about this couple: but one thing I know is this: they look like a good, hardworking, content, "salt of the earth" couple who loved their family and were in church with their children every Sunday. These are the kinds of couples who built this great country and carried their work ethic from the old country to the new land of opportunity, and loved their new homeland fiercely.


My son frequently chides me about buying relatives, and I guess I have a soft spot for this couple we shall call Clyde and Opal...

I love his old hat, the overalls, the hands (especially the hands! click on photo for a larger view) that have worked so hard for so long and served him well, and the bit of a mischevious look he has around the mouth. I think he was proud of Opal and that she was a good mother and wife, an excellent cook and had a great sense of humor, and was a neighbor that those all around their tidy farm knew that they could count on.

She looks like she would laugh easily whether the joke was hers or not. I think she preserved a lot of food on the pantry shelves and baked alot of bread and pies. I think she loved children and had a kind word backed up with kind deeds.


I can imagine Clyde and Opal in the late evening when they were all alone in the house, the dishes were in the drainer, the dishcloth hung up to dry, with the old Frigidaire quietly humming; the raspberry pie on the counter covered carefully with a cotton dishtowel. Everything on the farm by now was in their stalls out in the barn (built by Clyde, Opal and the whole family) and was quiet as the shadows lay across the handmade braided rag rug she'd done years before, made with all the carefully saved rags and old clothing all the kids had grown out of over the years.



Their rockers creaked on the golden oak floor in unison. No words needed to be said, they'd lived with each other now for almost sixty years, the silence is comfortable, and the moments were tender. He felt lucky to have her, still couldn't believe she'd said yes and she couldn't imagine life without this shy, quiet boy she'd watched as he became an old man.


She'd be with him through to the very end, could easily, (more easily now than ever), overlook all his quirks and faults and he did the same for her. There'd be no question when both of them were gone-- in their kids' minds, they would know that Clyde and Opal had a wonderful life and a wonderful love. Opal and Clyde gave them wonderful memories to live with and build their families by.

See why I like to buy a relative every now and then?

8 comments:

Raggedy Girl said...

We may be related as I bring home stitcherys from antique store. I do needlework and I know the love that goes into it and I cannot bear that someone would just cast away the creative work of a relative. So I think of them as my relatives work and I frame them and hang them on the wall. I love Opal and Clyde and it looks like you came from good stock.

English Cottage in Georgia said...

How sweet you are to adopt grandparents who were without a family...makes me sad. I think your post will make me feel less guilty about not taking lots of pics :-)

Eclectic Pink Rose said...

I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one!!!! :)
♥ T.

Sue said...

Joni,
What a sweet, sweet story. I miss my grandma and grandpa so much! They were farmers, too. My daughter never knew her grandparents...only 1 from both sides was alive when she was born. So sad for her.

I received my wonderful photo tags yesterday. Thanks again. Now I have to come up with something crafty to use in my giveaway...and that is NOT going to be an easy feat for me...

Kelly B said...

I love that you "bought" your relatives. I have often considered starting a scrapbook with cast off photos and making short stories about each one. It would be such a great conversation starter. And whether anyone else was interested or not, I think it would be very relaxing dreaming about these people and making up their lives... I guess that is the people watcher in me. :)

Donna said...

OMWord!!! How Beautifully Said!! I loved it! I think I'll go out and "buy" Me some realtives!!lol..Happy day sweetie!hughugs

farmhouse wares said...

I love this! Opal and Clyde are lucky to have you.

adsgram said...

Beautiful....I am Opal to my own Clyde...a bit more modern day and we have a few more years to go for the rockers, I hope, though! It would be sweet if someone wanted to buy us as relatives someday... nice post!

Lynne