Judy Sides and Dan Lucid ... my parents ...
A Family Story About Giving
In the 1930’s, before WWII, my mother’s grandparents had a farm just outside of Selma California in the Central Valley. My great grandparents were like many small farmers in that they had a house on their property that they rented to farm workers. At that time, my great grandparents rented their house to a Japanese family who helped to work the farm.
There came a time when, my grandmother Elsa was to be married to Douglas Sides. The Japanese family heard that it was tradition to give the "bride to be" rings to commemorate the wedding. So, this Japanese family had a small, solitaire ruby ring made and presented it to my grandmother as a wedding present.
The years go by and when my Aunt Barbara was to marry Jack Swanson, my grandmother gave Barbara the ring presented to her by the Japanese family. Not wanting to play favorites, Grammy (that is what I called my grandmother) presented my mother a duplicate ring when she married my Dad.
When my cousin Nora was married, my Aunt Barbara gave Nora her ring. My mother was not happy about this. She loved the ring she had received from her mother and, she knew that because her sister had given her ring to her daughter, it would be expected that she give her ring to my sister when she married.
My mother did give her ring to my sister Trisha when she married Mike Ragsdale … but it was a hard thing to do … not because she didn’t love my sister … but because the ring meant so much to her.
So, the Christmas after my sister was married … after we’d all opened our gifts … my dad presented my mother with another present. I could tell that she thought it might be something special … she opened the small box to see a replica of the small ruby ring she had received from her mother and that she had given to her daughter. I will never forget the look on her face … the tears came … I don’t think I’ve ever seen my father happier.
This is how I understood the joy of giving. This is what I get from giving the gift of photos to the families of the kids I photograph.