I recently went to Georgia to visit family and came home with an armload of photos, kept by my aunts and cousin, many of which I'd never seen before. A bunch of them are from my mom's childhood, adolescence and early adulthood -- a time of her life she rarely talked about, and we never had much of a window into.
She grew up in rural Georgia in the 1940s and '50s, and came to California in the mid-1960s, where she met my dad, got married in 1967, and had me and my brother in the 1970s. Although she kept in touch with her family back home, especially her sisters, we just never knew much about them. (I started corresponding with her sisters, my aunts Annie and Donna, later on in life, especially after mom died in 1996.)
Here's my mom (left) with a friend. I'm guessing she's about 5 in this photo. I love her ultrablonde hair, knobby knees, dress, smile. I've seen that same smile on my daughter's face.
My mom went to nursing school after graduating high school. She trained at Piedmont Hospital and also a couple of months at Milledgeville Asylum, the biggest and one of the most notorious mental health institutes in the state of Georgia. Here she is in her nursing uniform -- I think this was at the very beginning of her training.
I came home with many pictures of my mom just having a good time. Here she is on the beach, sunning her shoulders. That looks like a camera by her side.
This one was surprising. We knew our dad had done some amateur racing, but had no idea our mom was into it, too!
This one's probably my favorite. Mom looking modern, happy, confident, carefree, chic. I wish I could ask her about the day this photo was taken.