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Chuck Hinman: IJMA 007, Old Pictures Memories

It's Jut Me Again No. 007: Old Pictures Memories.Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at:
The next earlier Chuck Hinman column: Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 364. Patriots and Patriotism

By Chuck Hinman

Recently I ran on to a picture I hadn't seen for a long time. It was a picture of my parents, Arley and Merle Hinman taken on the dining room porch on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. It was in 1967. It was a good clear picture and it was in color.

The day was beautiful - everyone was dressed up. Mom wore a pretty corsage in honor of the occasion. Dad looked reasonably comfortable with a boutonniere, and both looked in good health and happy after 50 years of marriage. Quite an accomplishment? Absolutely!

One of the reasons the picture took on added significance was that I have seen very few pictures taken of my Mom that showed the extent of the port-wine stain that covered generally half of her body including her face. When pictures were taken of Mom, she discreetly positioned herself so that the facial stain didn't show. No one made a big tadoo or perhaps even thought about it. I have NEVER seen a picture except this 50th wedding anniversary picture that showed the stain in bold and truthful detail, something that had hounded Mom for a lifetime! Bless her heart!

She had lived with the embarrassment of children gasping - "What's wrong with her face, Mommy?" and mothers trying to shush their children's innocent but truthful observations! There WAS something wrong! Mom was one of the few people who had a cruel enormous birthmark right where it hurt - smack-dab on her face!

Mercifully, her clothing covered the rest of the stain. But it was ALWAYS there when she took a bath or looked in a mirror. Everyone could get away from the awful truth but not Mom! Lord, how did she deal with that over a lifetime?

Can you imagine the scene at my Mom's birth when her parents first cast their eyes on their newborn? Some things are too much for the human mind to handle and this is one of those.

But you would have to have known my precious Mom to have known how successfully and beautifully she lived with this curse and especially for a woman.

I was especially close to Mom, not because of her horrendous birthmark but because she was Mom. She rarely talked about the birthmark but I have heard her tell how her mother who was an exceptional seamstress always kept her dressed better than the rest of the girls in school.

Both Mom and Dad passed away several years ago. As I looked at that picture a few days ago, I was struck with how successfully our family dealt with Mom's birthmark over a lifetime. I can truthfully say that her birthmark was a non-issue in our relationship. Obviously, my Dad did not let it wipe him out. They were longtime sweethearts, both college educated, and lived a successful married life -- over 50 years. Mom, nor Dad never went in to hiding! Why should they? There is more to life than imperfect skin pigmentation.

Mom and Dad get my vote for Nebraska's Farm Couple Of The 20th Century!

Atta way to go, Mom and Dad. I love you and can hardly wait to see your heavenly bodies. I bet you are a knockout, Mom!

A more detailed account of this birthmark is in:It's Just Me -by- Chuck Hinman : 305 Mom's Birthmark -Robert Stone.

This story was posted on 2011-07-10 08:38:56
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