Friday, August 31, 2007

Baby Carl, Baby Emily

My maternal grandmother (henceforth known to all as my Farmor) had these two pictures sitting on her TV cupboard for the longest time. The first time my stepmom Kris visited Farmor's house, she took one look at these two pictures and said "Look. It's Baby Carl! And Baby Carl, in color?"

Just for the record, I had very little hair until I was two. And what was there was very, very light blonde - and thus pretty negligible. In the picture of me, I like the naked doll and the pacifier tied to the baby seat -- this is very wise, as I'm sure that I dropped the thing repeatedly.

So, I was a bit weird

One year I announced that I wanted to be the Statue of Liberty for Halloween. My mother said "Okay ..."

As you can see, she created a fantastic costume for me, even though it was an unusual (weird) request. I think I must have been in about the first grade for this one. Could be second grade instead.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baby Emily demands it

So, I've been ordering people around for a long time.

Or else I'm trying to wave away the paparazzi.

Thanks to my dad for this one.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cooper family

From left to right: my grandmother, Ruthe; my uncle, Kent; my mother, Barbara; and my grandfather, Kenneth.

When my grandmother sent a copy of this picture to other members of the family, she wrote this on the back:

"Kenneth wears a halo these days and Barbara evidently wanted to show she was an angel, too"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kenneth and Ruthe

Here are my maternal grandparents, Kenneth and Ruthe (Meeker) Cooper. The picture was taken in 1947 -- they had just moved to Nashville from Columbia, Missouri. Kenneth, having graduated from the University of Missouri with a Ph.D. in history, took a job at Peabody College (now the education school for Vanderbilt).

I particularly like this picture because they look so very serious -- this is actually an unusual look for them.

The way Grandma and Grandpa would tell the story about how they met: she would explain that she met him at a dinner in college, where he was seated opposite of her. She said that he made her laugh.

"And we haven't stopped laughing since," Grandpa would reply.

(Grandpa still sometimes writes really funny captions to pictures ... if I can find one of those I'll put it up).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Here we see my Great-Great Grandmother Casey (anyone out there know her first name or maiden name?) holding my father's father, Joseph Bradley, Sr. As you can probably tell, I don't know anything at all about my Great-Great Grandmother-- in fact, I was a little shocked to find out that we had a picture of her-- but I can tell you a little bit about my grandfather.

He was a doctor who grew up in Massachusetts and married my grandmother, Marguerite, with whom he had four kids-- my Aunts Anne (Bradley) Bonney and Ellie (Bradley) Archibeck, my Uncle Ben Bradley, and my father, Dad. They eventually moved to New Mexico, which was where he practiced medicine until he died rather young, well before I was born.

EDIT: Okay-- according to my mother, Great-Great-Grandmother Casey's first name was either Agnes, or Mary, or Josephine. Anyone else out there have any idea?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Getting Writer's Block From Calling You Is All I Wanna Do"

On August 23, 2002, I went to a reception for new graduate students enrolled in the University of Missouri's English program. To be honest, I wasn't having a very good time there-- the people were so serious about their Projects. I didn't have a Project, and compared to some of these people, I was only semi-literate. I was about ready to give up, swing by a liquor store, and go home to plot how I would explain to my parents why I dropped out of graduate school when two women approached me.

The first one was nice enough. "I'm Lisa Marie," she said, "and I'm the social chair of the English Graduate Student Association. It's my job to make sure everyone's having a good time." Like I said, friendly, but not terribly impressive. But the other one...

"I'm Emily," she said, "and I'm just drunk."

And we've been drinking together ever since.

The title for this post, by the way, comes from John Cale's song "Perfect," because it captures that feeling in those early months of our relationship. Who wants to worry about writing when you could be falling in love, after all?

The Reason I'm Such a Foul-Mouthed Jerk

Okay-- obviously, this isn't a photo. Still, I thought it deserved to be a part of this little family record. It's a column my dad wrote in 1983 about sportsmanship and raising sons.

This was sent to me by my parents' friend Linda Zuckerman when Emily and I got married in 2005-- she'd held onto it for over twenty years, which I thought was pretty incredible. It's also kind of touching/ funny to see my dad's concern that my brother and I would be exposed to foul language, considering how we turned out to be so vulgar ourselves.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chicken lamps

Anyone who has been to our apartment will probably have noted that we have a few chickens in the kitchen (the decorating kind, not the eating kind. Those are in the freezer, not hanging above the sink). Chickens are important to the Isaacsons -- we have an unfortunate history of giving each other chickens. Chicken ornaments, chicken curios, chickens on dish towels, etc. I am oddly obsessed with the chickens in Key West.*

So, why the chickens? Well, that all has to do with the lovely (ahem) chicken lamps that my grandmother had in her living room. (This is me standing at my grandmother's couch).

Take a closer look:

Nice, huh? The threat was always that the chicken lamps would be part of my inheritance. They're long gone now, but somehow, I've gotten into the habit of buying chickens for decor.

*Except for the part where they pooped all over our car on our last trip.

Trivial Pursuits

These pictures were taken a few days before my cousin Katie (Bradley) Bridges's wedding in January of 1998. I was going to refer to these pictures as "recent" photos of my dad's side of the family, but I guess it's been almost a decade, huh? Time flies when you're in graduate school...

Anyway, these photos show my family involved in one of our favorite violent activities-- full contact Trivial Pursuit. The rules of full contact Trivial Pursuit are just like regular Trivial Pursuit, except that in this version, someone (usually a man whose last name is Bradley) eventually gets fed up and starts an argument, yelling one of the following things:

A) "When did this game get so damn politically-correct?"
B) "That was for pie?!"
C) "Oh, okay-- we can see who got the easy box this time!"
D) "You don't have to be so obnoxious about it!"

Following this outburst, someone else-- usually a woman who married into the Bradley family, will say "Okay, Bill/Ben/Joe/Whoever-- that's enough." And then the game concludes once one team answers their final question while the other team just shakes its collective head in silent rage, while the same woman from before mutters to another woman at the table, "That's it. That's the last time I play this game with those asses." Then, we play again for double or nothing.

In the top picture, we can see my Aunt Anita (Wickstrom) Bradley, cousin Brooke Bonney, and brother Steve Bradley. In the lower picture, we've got my sister, Molly Bradley, as well as my mom, Ann (Cook) Bradley, cousin Bernard "Chip" Bradley, and Aunt Anne (Bradley) Bonney.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tough Guys

This would be me with the neighborhood kids when I was in-- I'm guessing-- the second grade. I'm the goofy-looking kid in the back, wearing the red and white shirt; Billy Zuckerman is beside me. In the first row, left to right, are my brother Steve Bradley, Matthew Zuckerman, J.J. Nord (I think), and King Michael Zuckerman.

My parents were best friends with the Zuckerman parents for the six years we lived in California, and they've recently re-connected after being out of touch (with the exception of the occasional Christmas card) for several years.

I'm guessing this is around 1983 or 1984, which means I'm probably re-playing Rocky III or Return of the Jedi in my head as the picture is being taken.

Henry and Anna

Portraits upon the steps. These are my great-grandparents, Henry and Anna Sembach (my dad's maternal grandparents).

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Brief Word About This Blog

If you take a gander to the left, you'll see that we've set up some links that we thought might be of interest to friends and family members. The first collection of links deals with the academic and creative work Emily and I do. Well, actually, it's just me at the moment-- my work has been reprinted on the web more than Emily's has, it seems. Nevertheless, she'll probably have some stuff to add to that list sooner or later.

The second collection of links deals with friends and family members who have some type of web presence. We've got Carl and Jonathan Isaacson's blogs, websites devoted to our friends Bob and Natalia's books, and the websites for the newspapers my brother and my father work for. If you're a friend or family member with a blog or website, let us know and we'll add you to the list.

The final selection is just kind of general interest stuff that we're into. You can learn more about where we went to school, or our current fields of study (Renaissance Literature for Emily, Creative Nonfiction for me). You can also browse our Shelfari shelves to get a sense of what we've read (and what books we've loved, liked, and hated). And you can also learn more about the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, which Emily has been involved with since she was very young and I've been involved with since we got married in one of their churches.

Aunt Gladys and Aunt Dorothy

I love this shot of my great aunts shopping in Atchison, Kansas. On the left is my great aunt Gladys Cooper and on the right is her sister, my great aunt Dorothy Leighton.

Christmas With the Cooks, 1958

More from my mom's side of the family. Clockwise from left: Ann (Cook) Bradley, Michael Cook, Billy Cook, and Brad Cook.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bill Cook In Uniform

This is my maternal grandfather (and namesake), William Cook. He died when I was quite young, but as I recall, he was really into Sesame Street, The Incredible Hulk, and Pac Man. Or, maybe that's what I was into. Who can remember?

Actually, I should probably tell you some serious things about him. He flew during World War II, then later spent most of his career flying for Delta airlines. He was a member of the Quiet Birdmen, which-- near as I can tell-- is some kind of all-male social club for pilots. He was married to Eleanor (Stevens) Cook, and they had four kids-- my Uncles Billy, Brad, and Michael and my mom, Mom.

Centennial Park, Nashville

This seems like a nice comparison set to begin with.

The top picture shows Emily's mother feeding the ducks in Nashville's Centennial Park; the bottom picture shows Emily feeding ducks (same pond, different ducks).* Centennial Park is home to Nashville's Parthenon and is almost always a stop on trips to Nashville, where Emily's grandfather, uncle, aunt and cousin still live.

*You might also notice the great shoes that Emily's dad is wearing in the bottom photo.


Welcome to our new blog.

In recent years, Emily and I have found ourselves the recipients of lots of old family photos. Actually, Emily's always been interested in her family's history; I've only recently begun to cultivate this interest myself.

Our house is now full of pictures-- we even have an entire wall of mostly black and white photos of mostly long-dead relatives. Lately, Emily's been working to scan all of these photographs into her computer, so that in the case of fire or flood damage (or theft, I suppose-- though it's hard to imagine that there's a huge black market demand for pictures of our great-grandparents), these valuable records won't necessarily be lost.

Which brings us to this blog. Since we're storing these pictures electronically, it made sense to us to share them with interested friends and relatives (and strangers too, I suppose-- if you're into looking at pictures of someone else's mom's cousins, knock yourself out). We'll be updating this blog every so often with pictures that tickle our fancy-- some may be as recent as Emily's summer trip to Japan from a couple of months ago, whereas others go back to the early part of the 20th century. And we'll try to say something pithy or interesting about them, too.

Oh, one other thing-- the name of this blog. My last name is Bradley; my wife's last name is Isaacson. BrIsaacson. You know?