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Super Friends by Whitney Holwadel Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at whit-superfriends.blogspot.com. Super Friends: December 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

More photos

A few more photos I just scanned. I've arranged them in chronological order. 








January 1985


Not sure of the date



1985


April 1987 (3rd birthday)



December 1991
Whit and his beloved Milli
(wearing the Santa Kid cap)



Summer 1992



December 1992

 
May 1992



Spring 1992
Camping in our little
pop-up trailer.



Fishing at Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Andy's
Spring 1992



Birthday 1993



Fall 1993



August 1996
Whit and I took a road trip to visit
my friend Carl McIntyre in Charlotte, NC



October 1996
Whit, Milli and Spike



October 1997
Howe Military School, where
Whit attended 8th grade



July 1998
Fishing at Aunt Carolyn's again



August 1999
Whit and Uncle Andy (my sister's late husband) baiting a hook




August 1999



August 1999



August 1999



August 1999



1999
Another road trip, this time to West Virginia

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reflections - past and present - on the season



This may be the first incarnation of "Santa Kid." Like all children, Whit had boundless enthusiasm for the season. In his case this included becoming what we all referred to as Santa Kid. Some years he would just wear the hat, but it was a family tradition right up until our last Christmas as a family.

Whit and I wrote annually about what the season meant to us and how we were handling the separation. Here are some excerpts from letters in 2008/2009. Ellipses are where I cut.

To Whit, December 9, 2008

...Speaking of which, it's getting time to pull out my DVD of "It's a Wonderful Life" again. That's the other tradition I observe, along with reading that Washington Irving Christmas chronicle "Old Christmas." I put up a few small decorations in the house, as much for visitors (including I suppose Maryl) as for myself, and continue to forego a tree until you're home again. It's not in the spirit of a sacrifice, but rather because I simply don't feel like it. I've always loved the days leading up to Christmas, but those feelings aren't so much associated with a religious view - though there is, I suppose, a residual non-denominational component to it - as a general feeling of, or at least longing for, a connectedness with family. Partly an appreciation for what is, and partly a nostalgic desire for what isn't. My feelings for the movie reflect all this, I think. Visiting Bedford Falls, where ultimately everybody feels interconnected and goodness is finally rewarded, is a welcome if temporary respite from the greed, exploitation and meanness we face every day in Pottersville. Which of course pales in comparison with the levels of this you are surrounded by in the Terre Haute equivalent of Pottersville....

From Whit, December 13, 2008

...I certainly understand the sentiment you attach to the Christmas tree and also your reasoning for not wanting to put one up. I'm actually trying to imagine what I would do in that situation. Actually, I think I would put one up. There's certainly a strong association with family to that particular tradition but it's just that association that would drive me to still bust out the lights and ornaments every December. It would serve as a sort of tribute to the memories of when the family was together and a reminder of what's waiting for us all when (most of) the family is back together again. That's me, though. And chances are how I feel in my imagination is sharply different from how I'd feel in reality....

From Whit, February 17, 2009

...Before I forget! I finished Washington Irving's Old Christmas a few days ago and loved it. While the book's effects would certainly be much greater around the actual Christmas season [the book shipment was predictably delayed in the prison], even reading the book in February provided me with that lighthearted, blissful feeling usually associated with spending time with loved ones around December 25th. The chapter containing an English coachman's dignities was fantastic! Great, great book; one I'm going to keep around to read whenever I'm feeling blue. Thank you for sending it!...

To Whit, February 17, 2009

...I'm really glad to hear you liked Irving's Old Christmas. I have read this at Christmas time every year since I bought the book in 1978, when I found it at the Irving museum (his home) in Tarrytown, NY while I was in that part of the country recruiting for Ohio Wesleyan University. I'm pretty sentimental at heart, and reading the book is a tradition that means a lot to me. The book is full of observations that make sense to me, but one that stands out are these lines: "The world has become more worldly. There is more of dissipation, and less of enjoyment. Pleasure has expanded into a broader, but a shallower stream, and has forsaken many of those deep and quiet channels where it flowed sweetly through the calm bosom of domestic life." (underline mine). That part rings absolutely true with me, the idea that when we expand our pleasures into innumerable divisions, it's inevitable that we can't feel as deeply about any of them, and especially the ones that really matter. It's a wonderful image, reflecting the topographical reality that as a water system widens and splits it becomes shallower. Looking at myself, I seem to have a few things that I look to for pleasure - the guitar, photography, motorcycling, a renewed interest in astronomy - in addition to my work. But it's always been important to me to keep my life relatively simple, focusing on family and friends, keeping that as the deep center of my life and making decisions based on cultivating and honoring that most meaningful part of me. Irving's language is of course highly antiquated, with many of the words having much different meanings from their current usage ("...the calm bosom of domestic life..." sounds really corny even to me), but I can easily overlook that when I remember when he was writing. I know what he means, and that's what counts....

From Whit, February 24/25, 2009

...It's funny that you mentioned the line "Pleasure has expanded into a broader but shallower stream" as being one of your favorites in the book because I've got that one underlined as well. It's been a few years since my reading of David Copperfield but from what I remember Irving's style of writing is a lot like Dickens'. Dickens also had that ability to pull out the emotion in his settings and atmospheres. Plus they've both got that 19th century lingo....


This year my coping strategy seems to be blocking out everything associated with Christmas, especially the ornamental and symbolic aspects. Once again there will be no tree, and this time no decorations of any sort. I do have Maryl's and Whit's stockings hung. There's no cause for any "reminder of what's waiting for us all when (most of) the family is back together again."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A few more photos

Here are a few more I've decided to put up.




Whit and his maternal grandfather at his grandparents'
cabin outside of Madison, Indiana




Fishing in the pond at my sister's rural Ohio home




Whit and his Aunt Jody. I love this photo.


Halloween at our first house. Whit is Wee Willie Winkie. His mom
was amazing with costumes.




On our last trip as a family, in July 1996, we spent 2 weeks in Tuscany.
One day Whit and Maryl explored the shell of a long-abandoned stone
house in the village where we were staying. He found this old,
threadbare wool coat and decided he had to have it. He hardly took
it off for the rest of the vacation, even wearing it through the airports
on our return trip (in July!). This is the front door of the house
we were staying in, not the one they explored!
I still have the coat.

 

One of Whit's family nicknames through childhood
(and even into young adulthood) was Boneman.
It's a long, silly story. Basically he went (as an infant) from
Whitney to Whitty to Wheaty to Wheat Bone to Boneman.
One of those family name evolutions that just happens.
He got this custom made t-shirt for a birthday.




And finally, a snap of Whit likely taken at an Ohio or Kentucky
state park on a family camping trip.