A3 -- Photo contributed by Terry Dunkle


In August 1967, Grandma organized what I believe was the last great Richards reunion, at Hershey Park.  I was home from Cornell that summer, equipped with a secondhand 35-mm Practica and a cheap 135-mm lens that made fairly good portraits.  As I snapped this picture, someone -- I can't remember who -- had just placed his hand on Grandma's shoulder, causing her to turn away from the person across the table.  The resolute chin, the pursed upper lip, and the hint of fierceness in her eyes tell me that she was in one of her manic periods.  What a complicated, intelligent, testy, and unpredictable character she was!  I loved watching her, interacting with her, arguing with her, and for a couple of years in the early 1970s, living with her.  I could write books about her -- and maybe someday will.

I still don't recognize the person behind Grandma.  Uncle Don says it might be Aunt Madeline, but I have a dim memory that it was an older relative, and that the hand on Grandma's shoulder belonged to the relative's mate.

The ghostly figure in the far left background is, I believe, Elaine.  You might wonder how I could discern this from such a fuzzy image.  The answer is that somehow the image feels like Elaine -- or perhaps, on some level, I simply remember that she was standing there.

I also have a photograph of Granddad taken less than a minute later.  He was sitting by himself on a concrete wall outside the pavilion, with his thin, khaki-clad legs stretched out in before him (did he always wear khakis, or am I imagining this?) and his hands in his pockets, daydreaming.  I can still see him in that moment, plain as day, but I have not actually laid eyes on the picture for many years.  It is lost somewhere in my files.

-- Terry

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