*Update 8/21/11 – The people in this photo are, from left to right: Ann Binau, Glen Shafer, Bud and Peg Orians, Judge Loren Charles “Dutch” and Georgia Schoenberger, Reuben and Donna Schoenberger, and Pete Binau. At the 100th Schoenberger reunion on Aug. 21, 2011, I met “Dutch” and showed him this photo. He supplied this great background to the photo, which kind of puts a lump in my throat: Dutch served in the armed forces from 1941-1946. This photo is from a celebratory night at a tavern in Bucyrus, Ohio, marking the first time this gang of friends and relatives were back together at home after World War II.
There’s no information at all on this photo from our family trunk, but it’s one of my favorites in there:
I know for sure that my maternal grandfather, Reuben Schoenberger, is third from the right, and to his immediate left (so, the second person from the right) is my maternal grandmother, Donna Ruth. And I’m fairly certain that the woman at the far left is my great-aunt (?) Ann Binau. All the remaining faces have a degree of familiarity which will probably resolve into aha! moments if my mom checks this out, because I’m sure she’d recognize most, if not all of them.
Every person in this picture – and if I’m right with my hunches, I’m related to most of them – has always been an “old” person to me. They’re my grandparents and their siblings and peers, and they bring to mind memories of houses that didn’t have any kids’ toys and where complicated card games were played while people laughed and drank things I think I’d later find out were whiskey sours, which would explain why the first time I ever tried that drink, I was thrown back to feeling like a kid underfoot at a grown-ups’ get-together.
But here’s why I love this picture so much: Because when I look at this photo, God, this could be me and Jenn and our friends, or us with my brothers and their wives – and not even the way we are now, but maybe 10 or even 15 years ago, all hanging out someplace and crammed into a corner booth or a table, the food (if there had been any to begin with) long since cleared away while the glasses remained and everyone just kept on laughing and talking.
Maybe that’s not what’s going on here at all – but that’s what it reminds me of, and that’s where it takes me, and it’s funny how now that I’m most likely more than a few years older than the group gathered at this table, I love thinking about how young they were, and even decades later, it alters my memories of them just a little bit for the better.