A Fireplace and a Chair Across Two Generations

My mother and her brother, Christmas 1937

My mother and her brother, Christmas 1937

Please forgive me for posting another Christmas snapshot, even though we are now in a new year. This is a photograph of my mother and her older brother from 1937. It’s a happier picture than another one I posted of these two siblings, and it brought back many memories for me, even though it was taken about two decades before I was born.

This photograph was taken just after my mother and her family moved into a new home in Klamath Falls, Oregon—a home that my grandparents occupied until about 1962. My mother lived in the house from when she was four until she married at age 22.

Some of my earliest memories are of visiting my grandparents in this house, and I continued to visit them there until I was about six and my grandparents retired to Pacific Grove, California. In fact, my mother, brother and I even lived with my grandparents for three months in 1957-58, when I was not much younger than my mother is in this picture and my father was in graduate school. I vaguely remember living with my grandparents, though I knew we didn’t really live there—I knew my real home was in Richland, Washington.

I spent several Christmases in this house with a Christmas tree in exactly the same location by the fireplace. (For another picture of my mother taken beside the fireplace and Christmas tree, see here.) My mother is holding a doll baby and some other toy in the picture posted above. I received a new doll baby each year I had a Christmas in this house.

And I remember a chair in the corner under the window, exactly where it is in this photograph. I doubt it was the same chair in the late 1950s as in this picture from 1937, but it’s possible it was.

It was my grandfather’s chair. I don’t remember anyone other than my grandfather ever sitting in that chair, even when he wasn’t home.

My mother with her father

My mother with her father

Every evening he came home from work, sat in the chair with his cocktail, and watched the evening news. Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. And nothing happened until this ritual was over. Grandchildren were not supposed to interrupt.

Once in a while I got to sit on his lap in this chair, but it wasn’t a frequent occurrence. And it never happened while he was sipping his drink and watching the news.

I wonder if my mother ever got to sit on his lap during the evening news. Based on her stories from her childhood, I doubt it. But there is another picture of her as a baby in her father’s arms.

What do you remember about your grandparents’ houses?

Posted in Family and tagged , , , , , .


  1. No apologies necessary, Theresa. I love reading about your childhood memories and you know how much I enjoy the photos.
    My grandparents on my father’s side both died young, so I never met them. My mother’s father died when I was a year old, so I only knew my mother’s mother. I remember her house always smelled of something delicious cooking. She loved to cook for us when we came to visit. I have a post written about my grandmother that I plan to share in the next week or so. I miss her.

  2. Pingback: Stories: Past, Present, and Future | Story & History

  3. Pingback: A Life-Long Friendship Now Forgotten | Story & History

  4. Pingback: On Homes and Stability | Story & History

Leave a Reply