|Click on the picture to enlarge it.|
Above is one of my favorite photos from our family archives. It was taken around 1926 at my great-grandparents’(on my father’s side) summer colony on the shore. The blurred diver in the forefront of the photo is my grandmother competing in their salt water diving competition.
Here are two segments of the first photograph I have blown up to show detail:
|The Straw Boaters|
|The Rocks as "Stadium" Seating and The Yale Swimsuit,|
While ultimately all was done for fun, the competitions were taken with a certain degree of seriousness. (This might explain why my Uncle Dan, even when he was well into his eighties, would always challenge me and my cousins to salt water swimming races, declaring with a big smile that he would beat us all. And of course he always did. Always. And we absolutely loved him.)
Each summer evening, my grandparents, aunts and uncles would gather like clockwork to play either tennis or croquet, except on Sundays when they gathered on their front lawn for their “mini orchestra”, as everyone played an instrument.
|Here is the newspaper clipping of another of my grandmother’s dives in the summer competition. I learned a great deal from her and credit her for whatever gardening skills I now possess.|
|My Grandmother, Next To Her Brother, My Uncle Dan.|
John Adams wrote, “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
Obviously, we need to replace “sons” with “daughters and sons.” But I can’t help but wonder if this evolution, inversed, better describes a single life than three generations, and the maturing that most of us have to go through, from child to adolescence to mother (or father).
So thank you to all of the mothers who have had to study (and apply) politics and war, to give us the childhood to study the arts, while preparing us to grow up and take our place as farmers and builders, politicians and warriors.