Monday, August 22, 2011

Slides: Eddie Sr.

Late Spring or early Summer 1953: 16-year-old Edward Reynolds, Sr.
This is Ed's dad, the father-in-law I never met.

When my husband's mother was pregnant with her second child, she and her husband discussed possible names should the baby be a boy.  Her husband wanted to name the baby Willard, after his own father.  My mother-in-law was less than thrilled with that prospect, so she made a deal.  The baby was due in late August.  If the baby was born on her husband's birthday, September 1st, they would name the baby after the father instead of the grandfather.  Her husband agreed.  After all, what were the odds?

Ed's mom, Caryl, went into labor on the evening of August 31st.  She stubbornly refused to go to the hospital until after midnight, even though the nearest hospital was in Olean, New York, an hour-long drive away in those days.  She was determined that her baby was going to be born on his daddy's birthday!

The rest, as they say, is history.  My husband was born on September first, his dad's 24th birthday, and he was named Edward Reynolds, Jr. after his proud father.

Spring 1937: Edward Reynolds, Sr. as a baby.

Ed's dad died at age 73 in November 2009, less than 5 months before Ed and I met online.  Since I will never have the opportunity to meet my father-in-law in this life, the slides we found with images of Ed's dad are all the more precious to me.  In order to avoid confusion between my husband Ed and my father-in-law Ed, I shall hereafter refer to Ed's dad as Eddie Sr.  In his youth, he actually was known by most people as Eddie.

June 1948: Eddie Sr. at age 11

June 1948: Eddie Sr. at age 11

January 1952: 15-year-old Eddie Sr. (on the right) with his dad, Willard (age 41).
Ed says the man on the left was likely a customer there to purchase milk.

January 1953: The school bus driver poses with 3 of his passengers,
the Reynolds children: Eddie Sr. (age 16), Edith (age 13), and Lucy (age 10).

Spring or Summer 1953: Eddie Sr (age 16) and a Persian Lilac bush.

Most of the 1,000-plus slides I scanned were taken by Eddie Sr. over the years.  As I looked through decades' worth of slides, I learned that my father-in-law had a lot of passions.  He loved nature and took hundreds of pictures of flowers, crops, mountains, waterways, wildlife, and farm animals.  He also loved mechanical things, filling slides with pictures of trains, ships, and farm equipment.  And he was dedicated to the art of farming, with hundreds more slides of various aspects of farm life.

June 1954: Eddie Sr. (second from left) graduates from high school at age 17.

Eddie Sr. attended Alfred University in Alfred, New York, from 1954 to 1957. He earned an Associate's degree in Agricultural Engineering. He belonged to a fraternity and participated in many college activities, from Halloween pranks to Homecoming. Apparently he really, really loved college life since there are ten times as many slides of his college years as anything else!

June 1954: Newly graduated Eddie Sr. (age 17) checks out his new college.

As an adult, Eddie Sr. was a hard-working farmer and, later, entrepreneur.  He wasn't afraid to take a risk or toil hard to achieve his goals.  According to Ed, his dad was a gifted trouble-shooter and a creative thinker and planner.  He was also a kind employer, a good friend, and generous to a fault.  Eddie Sr. ended his long career by working for many years as an employee of Colorado State University's agriculture department, where he essentially invented machinery to accomplish what the professors told him they needed it to accomplish. 

1955- The Reynolds kids: Lucy (age 12 or 13), Edith (age 15 or 16),
and Eddie Sr. (age 18 or 19)

Caryl tells me that her husband was a good man who went out of his way to serve others, but he was also used to having his own way.  As the firstborn and only son of his parents, he usually got what he wanted, which didn't always please his sisters.  When I looked through his pictures, I felt he had the look of a man who was confident and happy and a little mischievous.

I can't wait to meet him.

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