Seven adults are seated around a dining room table. A holiday centerpiece appears in the center of the table. They are likely eating dessert, as there are no serving dishes on the table.

Looking Within Photographs

In reviewing 1974 Christmas photographs, I remembered some fun details to include in the Caption field in Lightroom. I also realized that these images preserve my maternal grandfather’s last Christmas.

Fruit for Christmas

At first glance, this image captures my father explaining a new toy train to me. Then, the round red object in my right hand caught my eye. Is it a ball? Next, I noticed a round orange object on the new toy train – an edible orange! The object in my right hand must be an apple.

A father is on the right, pointing to a toy train. On the left, a 4-year-old girl is listening intently to what he is saying about her new toy. The train has an orange on it, and the young girl is holding an apple inner right hand.
I am listening intently about this train hauling fruit.

My parents were children of the Depression. They always received fruit for Christmas when they were young (a real treat in the 1920s and 1930s). Tradition required that me and my sisters would receive several pieces of fruit in the very bottoms of our Christmas stockings. This particular year, my fruit gifts served a dual purpose.

Fortunately, the Caption field in Lightroom has sufficient space for me to document the fruit memories as well as other details about this photograph.

Pictures within pictures

At least half a dozen times so far, I have used pictures displayed on a piece of furniture or hung on a wall to help date the picture in which they appear. In this photo of my grandmother, the bride in the wedding photo on the bottom shelf of the table was the daughter of close family friends.

A grandmother is seated on a living room chair. There are presents on the floor on both sides of her chair. She is wearing a green and white dress and has her legs crossed.
The wedding photo on the bottom shelf offers clues.

The friends’ daughter was married in 1974, so it must be Christmas 1974 or a subsequent Christmas. The back of the above photo indicates it was developed in January 1975, reinforcing that this picture is from Christmas Day 1974.

If you know the date of a picture within a picture, then the image you are attempting to date must have been taken after the known date.

A last Christmas

My paternal grandparents died more than a decade before I was born. I have limited memories of my maternal grandparents. As I come across photos of my mother’s parents, I find myself wondering when the images were taken relative to their deaths. I realized that these Christmas 1974 photos represent my maternal grandfather’s last Christmas.

Compared to photos from just a year or two earlier, my grandfather appears more frail.

Final time with relatives

My sisters and I know that the individuals around this dining table are relatives of my grandfather’s, who is seated with his back to the camera.

Seven adults are seated around a dining room table. A holiday centerpiece appears in the center of the table. They are likely eating dessert, as there are no serving dishes on the table.
A final holiday season.

This picture is also from 1974; from the centerpiece on the table, I know it is still the holiday season. My grandfather’s shirt is not the same one worn on Christmas (photos above), although my grandmother’s dress is the same (she is to his right). It must be a different day in late December. How heartwarming to see that my mother hosted these relatives of her father’s during the busy holiday season. We did not see these relatives often and cannot identify all of them. It seems likely this was the last time they saw my grandfather before his death in the first quarter of 1975.

I find that I have a broader appreciation for images when I consider them relative to other major events.

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