Now in their sixties and me almost there, my two older sisters and I felt like we were little girls again as we huddled together looking at old slides, projected on the wall of our parents’ room. The Kodachrome slides from the ‘50s and ‘60s still held their vibrant colors, making it seem like our parents were back in their twenties and still living among us. We oohed and aahed as the wonder of old memories—long forgotten—seemed to fill up the whole room with the click of each new slide.
First, we looked through the slides from the ‘40s, when our parents met and fell in love. Then came the photos of us three little girls, all born in Denver in the fifties, and blondies like our daddy.
We’d all forgotten the time we wore new pastel dresses and our auntie curled our hair when we were reunited with our parents after their long ministry trip overseas. Mama had brought us dolls from Paris, and we each held them up proudly as we smiled our crooked teeth grins of little girls.
But the photo that made us gasp was the one filled with the images of our mother in her thirties and both of our grandmothers, just in their sixties back in 1964. Two trusted mentors are also there. Nestled among our mama, grandmas, and mentors are us three little girls, just 11, 9 and 4 at the time.
The photo looks like it should be in a magazine, filled with splashes of different hues of blue—the mountain range behind us, the light blue ’63 Buick Roadmaster, Grandma’s flowered dark blue dress and scarf, Rhonda’s sweater, and Donna’s teal blue dress. Our other grandma rocked matching white shoes with her white purse. Donna, the middle sister, is huddled by Mama on the far left while Rhonda, the oldest, is to the far right by our Grandma Nessa, a farmer’s wife, and Grandma Eliza Christine, from Chicago whose parents were immigrants from Denmark. I love that four-year-old me is lost in her own little world, oblivious to the love, protection, joy, and beauty that hovers over her. Even my big sisters were my protectors at this stage in my little-girl life.
This photo is even more treasured because just ten years after it was taken both of our grandmothers would be in heaven, Eliza dying of cancer, and Nessa in a car accident. Alzheimer’s took my mother just five years ago. Oh, how I love all of the women in this photo! They all loved us—and Jesus—fiercely and prayed like mighty warriors over us for years.
What I love the most about this Kodachrome from 1964 is that it illustrates the impact of the women who came before me. Their prayers continue to echo through my life and that of my daughters. And one day, perhaps there will be a four-year-old great-granddaughter of mine just playing in her room, unaware of the generations of prayers that cover her.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1–2