The Internet as Time Capsule


My family has roots in Woodlake, a small community 20 miles northeast of Visalia. A while back  I joined a Facebook page “You know you’re from Woodlake if…”  Today, while scanning a picture someone posted, I spotted my mother.  She’s in a 7th grade class picture, taken on November 10, 1953.  She’s 14 here.  You can spot her in the back row, 5th from the left.  I’m amazed at how many of my nieces I can see in her face, looking out from 61 years ago.  What’s more amazing to me, is that in 4 years, she’ll be married and a mother.


I thought WordPress would allow the image to be clickable to a larger version, but apparently not.  Here’s an enlargement of the section my Mother is in:

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 5.11.46 AM

Wanda Faye Bergman (later, Reeves) Top row, middle.

Mom, the 1970’s, the closet, and burdens unseen

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Today is my Mother’s 72nd birthday.  (This photo is from about ten years ago)  After a nice visit, where my niece, and then my nephew and his family stopped by, I was saying goodbye, when Mom said something that kind of stunned me.

“I’m just sorry I wasn’t a better mother for you.  Maybe then you wouldn’t have been so…   unhappy.”

I don’t recall her ever having mentioned anything to give me a hint that she might have felt inadequate as a parent, and that I might have suffered as a result.

As I was leaving, I told her, of course, that she was the best, and there was no doubt of that.  Especially, I said, if she were to compare herself to some of the mothers of people I knew growing up.  Some of them were real witches!  I told her that if anyone ever thought of her as a witch, it could only have been as Glinda.  (Interestingly, The Wizard of Oz came out in the same year Mom was born. Coincidence? I think not.)

As I was driving home, it occurred to me that she might have been carrying this burden of thinking herself inadequate for some time.  As that thought process worked it’s way through my head,  it collided with several baggage cars of my own personal freight train.  In no particular order:  I had never noticed that she might be feeling like a failure as a mother, that I come across as “unhappy” or at least seemed that way to her, now or in the past, and that she might be feeling responsible for my difficulties coming to terms with my homosexuality.

I think we’re going to have to have a talk.


Happy Birthday, Mom

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Circa 1972, 33 years old.

Happy Birthday, Mom.


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My mother Wanda, 2005

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