Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Photos - Priceless Gifts to Share

Some time ago, I received a surprise in the mailbox.  

My brother Eddie, Dad, and I at the Roderick Family Reunion circa 1970

My cousin Kathryn had been going through some old photos and found some of my father, L.E. Roderick, my brother, and me.  Thinking we might want them, she put them in an envelope and mailed them to me.  What a gift!

If you have duplicate photos of other family members or have some you cannot keep, I hope you can send them to that family.  You might not even realize how much a simple gesture like that will mean to them.

My handsome Dad, the school teacher

Kathryn was so sweet to send these to me.  What a priceless gift she has given us.  On the back of this one, his name is written in cursive.  Under his initials, the name "Lenny" is written in a different color ink.  

Dad's school photo with a more casual look - no suit jacket

Dad had several nicknames.  In fact, his mother and father did not agree on what his name should be.  His father said that his mother could name him whatever she wanted to, but that he (his father) would call him "Tom".  All the brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and cousins called him Tom.  His mom must have eventually given in, because she called him Tom too.  
Dad was a lifelong teacher.  He taught school in Missouri and was a school principal in Oklahoma. When he moved to Texas, he had to apply for some kind of state certification to teach.  One requirement was his birth certificate. Dad was born at home, just like all the rest of his 11 brothers and sisters.  When he got the birth certificate, the place where his name SHOULD be was blank!  Imagine that.  He actually filled out his own name on his birth certificate so that he could submit it to the state of Texas for his certification.  So, his given name was Leonard Edward.  As a youth, everyone called him Tom.  When he enlisted in the Air Force, he was given a new nickname "Rod" which was his surname "Roderick" shortened.  That stuck with him throughout his military service and professional career.  And I never knew until I read the back of the photo that anyone called him Lenny. 

Perhaps coincidentally, we recently got a surprise visit from our brother-in-law, Ronny.  Ronny was married to HUBBY's sister, who has been in heaven for a couple of years now.  Ronny got a new Harley Davidson motorcycle and has been enjoying riding it all over the place.  So glad he decided to ride over and see us.

Ronny mentioned that he had a lot of family photos to share with HUBBY.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, he got on his Harley and came back with a load of precious family photos for us.

Louise Pettey as a young woman, perhaps circa 1930's

HUBBY's mom went to heaven when he was only 14, so we don't have a lot of photos of her.  We don't even have many of him as a youngster.  We were both so excited.  We even got a photo album and high school yearbook of hers.

Louise Pettey "at hospital"

On the back is the simple caption "made at Hospital".  I wonder if she was visiting someone here.  Perhaps she volunteered or worked there.  I wish we knew which hospital this was.

I will assume that this was made in at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska.  That is where HUBBY was born.  I will assume the photo was taken circa 1955.

Louise with her three sons, Alan, Randy, and baby Doyle aka HUBBY.

Although the color is way off on this one, it was too darned cute.  It was taken around Christmastime  1954.  Precious!  Those boys are adorable.

Doyle's First Christmas - with brother Randy (right) and Alan (left)

How could I possibly find the date?  It was stamped on the back of the pic.  I hope everyone reading this makes some effort to put dates and names on their photos.  It will help others SO MUCH later on.

Scrapbooking is such a popular hobby.  This photo album looks like the predecessor of a modern day scrapbook.  It has a cardboard cover and black rectangular paper pages that feel a bit like old manila paper.  No pockets or protective covers for the photos.  Louise used a white pen or marker to write on the pages of her album.  The glue on some of these gave out long ago. I love the photo on the top left taken on an old bridge somewhere.  The hats and the legs are splendid!  I wonder of the photo of Louise in the center with (Boots) in the caption means she was wearing boots, or was it her nickname?  Probably a nickname, because her friend Bobby Joy Partin has the same caption with a different name (Babe).  No doubt they were "Boots" and "Babe". 

The name of the girl on the bottom is cut off.  My scanner is just not big enough to capture the whole page.  Her name is shown as Dorothy Rawlinson.  The caption on her photo "School Days 1939-40".

We have learned so much from a couple of dear relatives taking time to share some family photos with us.  I must also include a cousin of HUBBY's we re-connected with when attending a family funeral.  He shared this photo with us via email.

This is the only photo any of the family has with HUBBY's father and air force crew in front of their airplane, a B 24 Bomber.  If you want to read more about him, more details are given here:  1940 Census - Ride the Time Machine.

In closing, the purpose of this post was two-fold.  The first was to encourage you not to dispose of old photos.  If you have more than you need or want, offer them to others that might appreciate them.  The second was to share a little bit of our own family history.  I hope by sharing it you'll see what I've been able to learn, and what is still unknown, from our new 'old' photos.  Perhaps by seeing our experience here, you'll be sure to mark your photos with dates and names.  Preserving history is important.  What is most important is your own family history.  I believe it is absolutely priceless.

Thanks for reading, and take care of those old photos please! 

UPDATE August 31, 2012

 I was contacted yesterday by a cousin, CHRISTOPHER, that found me online through  CHRISTOPHER's Great-Grandmother ETHEL is a sister to my Grandfather LEONARD RODERICK.  CHRISTOPHER has only a few photos of ETHEL and no idea of what she looked like as a child or young woman.  All their family photos were burned in a house fire during the 1950s.  Our family has had a website on for some time now.  I was able to retrieve these photos for Christopher from the site.  The reason I had access to them was because my cousin LEON had SHARED them by posting them to a photo album on  Thanks LEON for SHARING FAMILY PHOTOS!!

Ethel Roderick, my great aunt

My grandmother Gracie Arleen Baker (the future Mrs. Leonard Roderick) with her future Sister-In-Law Ethel Roderick.  Gracie is top row center (someone wrote Mom with arrow pointing to her) and Ethel is seated far left front row.  This is the Pleasant Ridge School in Upton, MO circa 1900.



Detail of Pleasant Ridge School Photo circa 1900 (above)


  1. Very excited about having these photos and memories! Good job Hun!

  2. It made me smile when I saw the book Ronny brought :) Old stuff like that is just irreplaceable.


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