Coming Home, Going Home

Robin Botie sits by the water with her late grandfather

Robin Botie sits by the water with her late grandfather


This weekend I went to Massachusetts for my mother’s birthday. For her gift this year I restored a photo of her father and then photo-shopped myself into it. I’d worked long hours on the picture knowing she would enjoy this otherworldly reunion of two of her favorite people.

A strong current pulls me to my family in good times and in bad. And when my daughter died, it was comforting to think about her wrapped in the embraces of my long gone grandparents. Maybe that’s related to whatever compels me to add my own image to photographs of my lost loved ones.

I know little about my grandfather. He was a cabinet-maker in Brooklyn during the depression. I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t left Poland as a young man looking to find a better life.
I have his nose.
If I could sit with him today in a quiet place by the water, I would ask him to tell me the story of his only son, the son he lost.
My mother and sister and I stayed up late last night, huddled over the computer, searching for some record of my grandfather’s life or death. As we discovered hints of him online, we grew more and more excited. It was like reaching out into time and space to touch him.

This morning I am traveling back to the sweet house in Ithaca where I talk to my dog and hear mostly myself. I am Going Home. But Coming Home means coming back to my family. The ones I love. Wherever they are.

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7 thoughts on “Coming Home, Going Home

  1. Pingback: Changes at Home | ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE - EVEN JOY

  2. Brie Johnson

    I love this one, Robin! Esp. the picture, which really shows the resemblance between you and your grandfather, particularly the nose! Beautiful.

  3. Robin Botie

    Hi Elaine. I’m hoping it magically gets fixed in the next week too. Just some problems starting up with my new webhost. But it looks like it’s coming under control now. Would love to see the photo with your dad’s head chopped off as it may be that I can give him his whole head back. Or make it look like he’s whole anyway. Can’t do much if the eyes and brows are gone but …?

  4. Gail Teran

    That was one amazing picture which you created! I am sure your Mom was delighted with it.
    I love finding relatives on Ancestry also. Keep the blogs coming.

  5. Elaine Mansfield

    Sweet, sweet, sweet. I love this, Robin–the family love and the photo-shopping. I have no good photos of my dad and me. He died when I was 14, and somehow the only photo with both of us has the top of his head chopped off (we’ll skip the symbolism). So I’m thinking of a photo of him on a boat with his arm stretched out along a railing. I would love to see myself snuggled under that arm and you make me see it’s possible. You’ve worked so hard to develop these skills. Hats off to you and your life.

    I’m no longer receiving notices of your blog posts in email. I decided my subscription must have been cancelled, so tried to subscribe again, but Feedburner says I am subscribed. I think this happened when you switched web hosts, but it’s been going on for a few weeks. I’ll remember anyway, but those email reminders are handy. Maybe it will magically fix itself. I’ll let you know next week.


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