I always catch my breath when the e-mail notice comes that I’ve been “tagged” in a picture posted on Facebook by my sister.
But I have to look. And sure enough, there I am, skinny and squinting in the sun. In most cases, I’ve forgotten the
picture existed, but glance at it, and I’m back there, then, remembering vividly the itch, bother and “be still, and quit
fidgeting” commands of the photographer, who might have been our mother, but more likely than not was one of our aunts, or perhaps our Uncle Jack.
So anyway, Friday, my sister tagged me in a picture taken Easter, 1964. And there we were, just the four of us then. Eric turned 60 on Saturday, so he was 14 or about to be that Easter. I was 11, and holding “baby” Terrell, 6 months old, and Billie, who had probably just turned 8. Her birthday is March 23. As Billie explained for all the Facebook friends who didn’t already know, the two youngest siblings, Leslie and Wayland, weren’t even on the horizon of our
By the time that picture was taken, we’d changed out of Easter church clothes and though the picture is cropped so no one else can see, I remember I was wearing shorts for the first time that season, and, I happen to know, I also have on a brand new pair of white Keds’ tennis shoes. My life couldn’t have been more exciting, I don’t believe.
The Cooksey kids got new shoes twice a year – for school and play in August and for church and play and/or school in the spring. We didn’t play in our Sunday shoes, or wear our play shoes to church. That rule was so rigid, that I think we thought that it would have been an 11th commandment had God not run out of room on the stone tablets where the other 10 were inscribed.
The picture was taken at our Mills’ grandparents farm, three miles outside of Goldthwaite on what used to be called the old Priddy highway. And looking at the picture, I remember
vividly the dirt path we were standing on, the skinny cedar trees on either side of the porch, the yellow gingham curtains hanging in the kitchen window. It’s a comforting sense of familiarity.
I can close my eyes and be there, which is nice.
Looking at the picture now, I wonder if I’m frowning because I’m standing there thinking just how cute Billie is, and I know everyone who ever sees that photo will probably compare us and come to the same conclusion. Even at 11, I had begun to understand what I now can proudly state as fact.
My sister always has been, and it appears will always be, younger and cuter than me. And trust me on this, the woman has a beautiful sense of style that’s turned more than a few heads over the years.
But honestly? I think I’m frowning because the sun is very warm and in my eyes, my baby brother is heavy and won’t quit wiggling – fussy and ready for a nap – and as soon as the picture taking is finished, we’re going to have to all load up and head home to Sanderson, a six-hour 330-mile ride in a crowded station wagon with an air conditioner that freezes the front seat driver and passenger and never reaches the back.
We’ll make it, we all know now. We survived pink sponge hair curlers and itchy, scratchy petticoats and ridiculous trends in fashion, not to mention way too many sugar-coated candy Easter eggs. And the piddly little things that made us squint and frown are likely all forgotten though probably got fretted over anew on another day.
If we didn’t know then, we surely know now, we were fortunate and blessed to have family, each other of course, but grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles too, so many good times and such wonderful fine memories.
Candace Cooksey Fulton’s column is in the Brownwood Bulletin on Sundays. She may be reached at