When I was 10, my grandparents, mother, and I loaded up the Chevy and went to Grass Valley, California to visit relatives. It was a trip of many firsts for me, but when I came across these two photos the other day, I had to share the highlight of my journey.
Uncle Orville and Aunt Mae Littleton were born in 1885 and 1883 respectively. This photo shows them all dolled up, but the second photo I'll be sharing shows why they were so cool.
I fell head over heels for Uncle Orville. He was a Renaissance man. Archaeologist, professor, artist, prospector, writer... it seemed like he could (and did) do it all, and he was a splendid raconteur. I was so mesmerized by him that I remember very little about Aunt Mae who spent most of our visit chatting with my grandmother.
Uncle Orville and Aunt Mae would often go out in the Mojave Desert for fun. It was a perfect spot for someone who's both archaeologist and prospector, eh? One day, Aunt Mae was standing not far from the car waiting for Orville to return from rambling when she looked down at the ground around her feet and saw ants working little beads up out of their hill. Aunt Mae was standing on an Indian burial site, and in his role as archaeologist and professor, Uncle Orville would oversee the excavation.
Don't you love their car-- and of course one goes trekking out in the desert wearing pearls just like Aunt Mae!
When we came back to Illinois, Mom had a large painting that Uncle Orville had not only painted but made the frame for, and I had a lump of fool's gold in a little jar, a matchbox filled with tiny beads, three arrowheads, two shell ornaments, daydreams of being an archaeologist, and memories!
Just to show that an adventurous spirit runs in the family, here's another photo I ran across...
|Denis & me out in the Mojave Desert|