Scanned Image Before Photoshop


I’ve been scanning and doing a little restoration on some old photos. I’m still learning loads about what works best, but as you can see this one needs a lot more work. It was overexposed and either the inks have faded or the photo album it was in did something to it, I don’t know.

The thing is though, doing all this brings back old memories. That is me at the age of about six just after having my tonsils removed. I didn’t always look so grumpy. The reason I chose this photo is I want to tell you about that mailbox behind my right shoulder.

I remember being tall enough to open it, but not being tall enough to see inside of that box. It was a magical mailbox to me because every so often people in my family would get presents from that box.

There was a doll I wanted, a beautiful ballerina doll named Dancerella and she had a pink sparkly crown. When you stuck your hand on the crown, this doll would pirouette. I didn’t tell a soul I wanted this thing, not sure why, maybe it was because we just didn’t ask for things. But I wanted that more than I’ve ever wanted anything (material) before or since.

And I was damned sure it would come via that mailbox. So every day for months I would go to the mailbox, open it, walk over to the oak tree nearby and stand on its roots to get the height I needed to see inside. Day after day, I was disappointed. No ballerina doll.

Then my dad got into a horrible car accident. For my mom, five kids and a broken up husband were too much to care for. So my aunts who lived four hours away came in to help the situation. They were taking the oldest three of us. I was sitting on the steps between the two aunts and they were asking me which one I wanted to go live with. I was confused, but I liked the idea that they were fighting over me.

One aunt had five kids. Three of them girls, one my exact age. The other had only two. One girl, and she was younger than I. Spoiled. Somehow that aunt was the one who convinced me to go live with her. On the way there I realized my mistake. The other aunt had kids swinging around on the ceiling fans like monkeys. It was like a fun house. What was I thinking, going with the one who had two spoiled kids?

Maybe I felt that one wanted me more. Aunt Lorica treated little girls like dolls. Her kids were adopted, thus way harder to get. It was her I chose. She would comb my hair and style it different ways. She bought me pretty dresses. She would also clean my ears out every single night. That was torture because she was convinced I had a piece of paper stuck in my ear. She saw something white in there and had this ice pik looking thing she used to try and dig it out. Very painful and she never got anything.

My spoiled cousin had everything. Every doll you could imagine, even some on shelves we were not allowed to touch. Most importantly, she had that Dancerella doll.

When Christmas came around I didn’t think Santa would bring my presents there, so when asked, I would just say I didn’t want anything. Come Christmas day, however, guess what I got?

Dancerella. With a sparkly blue leotard. She was even prettier than my cousin’s. Best of all, she was mine.

About the ear situation. The white thing my aunt was seeing was an infected eardrum. It got to the point where I was going deaf and reading lips (a skill I have to this day). That’s when my aunt took me to the doctor who said my tonsils were causing all the ear problems. I got my tonsils removed and got to move back home with my Dancerella.

My spoiled cousin and I ended up becoming best of friends, like sisters, and I would spend entire summers with them as a teenager. My aunt is still alive and lives down Bayou Lafourche. They’re evacuating right now because of Hurricane Gustav and going to my mom’s house. I sure would like to see them all, but the hurricane is headed toward my mom’s as well. It just won’t be as bad there.

For those of you who know my mom is in the hospital for tests, so far they haven’t found anything and she might be going home tomorrow. She’s feeling much better and sounds good too.


15 thoughts on “Restoration

  1. I didn’t know your mom was in the hospital. I’m glad she’s feeling better.

    I was wondering if your relatives would be impacted by Gustav. I’ll be thinking of them for you.

  2. Alright, We are gearing up for Gustav and all the relatives from the South. I have brought my handy dandy CAMERA. So I will be taking some pics. My mom has a pc card/wireless internet. I will upload and send you as much as I can. I will be staying between Mom’s and Amber’s with everyone else. Packing my shit now. It seems Katrina’s old man found out about her love affair with Rita. Gustav is pissed and barreling this way. Get your Shit and get out…. *Little Cajun Hurricane Joke*!!!

  3. April – oh man – love it! I’m going to tell that to my parents today. Their family all used to live in NO, but after Katrina they dissipated to various parts and I’m not even sure where anymore!

    Kitty – I love the story. I remember that doll too 🙂 I hope your mom is home soon and that everyone in your family will be safe and dry through Gustav.

  4. Kitty, I hope your mom is okay. I hope too that everyone will be safe when the storm hits.
    And I love your magical story about the doll and the child’s version of the reality that brought you to get your wish. And reading this I just realized that my own versions of things that happened when I was a child are vastly different than the things that happen with the morsel. I just realized that my guilt and worry for her are likely to be vastly out of proportion with what she is experiencing. Your stories are always lovely, despite the circumstances, and always make me feel hope.

  5. Thanks Michele. She is not getting out today, she needs to have some more tests and some IV treatments.

    April, that’s funny and so Cajun to roll with the punches and see the humor even serious situations. Gustav looks baaaaaaad. And it’s headed straight to your houses!

    TP, I didn’t realize your family were fresh transplants. So sorry your family got splintered like that.

    Francis, kids are way more resilient that we think. It was a bit traumatic for me at first, I didn’t understand what was going on, but I had so much fun playing with all my cousins all the time. It wasn’t nearly as boring as it was at my house. I do remember crying for my mom at night. But that was about it. LOL.

  6. Thanks, Max.
    I’m worried sick about Blane’s mom, she lives 20 minutes from the coast and refuses to evacuate (and there is a mandatory evacuation). Blane’s fussing with her over the phone right now.

  7. Yep – lots of recent transplants. Mostly older people who followed one of their kids families to somewhere else because dealing with the red tape and risks of re-building were too much at their age. My mom’s best friend is still in Metairie and they talked to her this morning and she is frantically searching for hotel/motel rooms. She’s having to get as far out as Tennessee to find space where they are not tripling the prices!! Gawd I hate unscrupulous business owners who take advantage of disaster situations!

    Another couple are in a place outside of N.O. that I cannot bring to mind right now, but which did not flood at all three years ago – they are quite safe from that but of course wind damage is always a concern. Not sure if they are leaving the area though.

    The other cousins we are closest to live now in Bay St Louis MS but on the inland side of the bay with some buffer zone. Not sure yet what they are doing.

    All I know is – I hate this!!

  8. I really don’t know. I am shocked at her decision.

    The storms down to a cat 3 now, I think I can rest a little better now.

    Those who are affected by Gustav, please let me know you are all okay over the next few days by email or right here.

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