While I was home in Mississippi for Thanksgiving, my Aunt Barbara passed along some family photos of my Pa-Paw’s family that she was recently given. The Streets is the branch of the family that I know the least, aside from the fact that I know that my grandfather, JT, had many siblings. I haven’t met any of these siblings in person, and now, they are all passed away save one. My Pa-Paw appears above, fresh in his army uniform headed off to war in Europe. He didn’t know when this picture was taken that his return trip across the Atlantic would be on a gurney, toe-tagged for dead. He made the trip back and went on to live for forty more years. In this picture, Pa-Paw is almost unrecognizable to me, were it not for facial features that I recognize in my dad and sister, Melissa. It isn’t just that I knew Pa-Paw as an older man after he spent many years laboring in the sun. There were the war injuries he sustained, as well as reconstructive facial surgery he had to go undergo after being thrown through the windshield in a serious car accident in the 1960s. That is why I love this picture of Pa-Paw in his youth, with all of those troubled years still ahead of him. He displays the kind of confident bravado that only an eighteen year old, unfazed by the world can produce.
Here are some of those siblings that are virtually unknown to me:
Two of the pictures Aunt Barbara gave me are my favorite. In the first, my Great Uncle Luther appears as an infant. I can’t help but compare it to pictures of my nephew Harry. Seriously, the resemblance is pretty uncanny.
Now look at Harry:
Maybe that isn’t the best picture to show the resemblance; or maybe it is all in my head; or maybe I just don’t know babies at all. Whatever the case may be, look at this picture of my Great Uncle Fred as an adolescent, and then let me say something:
That’s a pretty good-looking kid for rural Mississippi in the 1930s, right? It is no wonder he grew up to head off to Europe in the war and came back with a French bride. I am sure with a face like that, he could charm the pants off the European ladies. This is why, if I do ever find myself lucky enough to have a son, I hope that he inherits the Street genes. That way, he can grow up and marry some clever French girl attracted by his boyish Southern charm. Unfortunately, I have bad news for that pretend future son. Everything looks good for you in your teen years and early twenties, but chances are, somewhere in your late thirties, early forties, the unfortunate aspect of the Street genetic code will kick in. I am talking about male patterned baldness. So enjoy those perfect Bama boy bangs while you can, imaginary son.