My father took many photographs that now help me document my family’s life. There are photographs houses, street scenes and my mother in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In Springfield, MA he took pictures of my sister, my mother, me and along with those of St. John’s Congregational Church and members. For the first few years after we moved back to Detroit, there were photos and then, he stopped taking pictures.
A few months ago I noticed that my father took no more photographs of our family after we moved from 2212 Atkinson to 2254 Chicago Blvd. Pictures taken during that time were not taken at home. We were at one of my grandparents houses, or in Idlewild. And the photographer was not my father, my mother or other family members were. I wondered what happened during that time that made him stop.
In 1953, at the time we moved from Atkinson to the house on Chicago, there had just been a church split and my father, a minister, was involved in building a new church from the ground up, something he hadn’t done before. This involved finding a church building and raising the money to purchase it. New members had to be found and a program that would get those new members involved and feeling a part of the church, had to be developed. There were constant meetings at our house, a combination parsonage/church activity building. And my parent’s marriage was ending. My parents separated in 1954. Maybe, on top of everything else, his camera broke and he couldn’t afford to replace it because he kept donating his salary back to the church.
You can see some of the photographs my father took in these earlier posts:
You can read more about the church split in this post – A Church and Two Brothers – Two Splits.