Can We Keep Him?

Nicole hugs Clifford the Big Red Dog. Moore Family photograph. Burlington Vermont.




The above photograph is kept in a frame and is on display in our home. It was taken almost twenty years ago in Burlington, Vermont. The two main characters in the picture are Clifford the Big Red Dog, of course, and my Granddaughter Nicole. However, I would like to tell you the story that the image does not tell, nor would anyone else in future generations know about unless someone records the story so it won’t be lost.

My daughter was to find herself a single young mother of two daughters who was working full time and going to college full time also. It was at this time that she and my two granddaughters lived with grandma and me. Nicole was the younger of the two daughters. At the time, I was the manager of a movie theater and would work late into the night coming home at about one in the morning. Many mornings I helped to get breakfast for the girls (and truth be told for the rest of the family) and get the oldest one off to school. That gave Nicole and me the morning to find things to occupy our time. Our local PBS television station had some great programming for children at that time of day, so as often as not, we ended up watching it curled up on a chair. Needless to say, Clifford the Big Red Dog was a favorite with Nicole.

One summer, we were vacationing in the Plattsburgh, N.Y. area, and decided to take the ferry across Lake Champlain and spend the day in Burlington, Vermont. Part of the downtown in Burlington is closed off to automobile traffic and is for pedestrians only. On the day we were there, they were having a parade of dogs. The parade was being led by the biggest dog of all, Clifford. Now I swear I had a firm grip on Nicole’s hand, but somehow she broke free and streaked across the walkway and ended up giving Clifford the biggest bear hug she could muster. I mean, she would not let go. We had to go out there and pry her off from Clifford so that the parade could continue. Someone in our family had the presence of mind (it could have been me, but I am not sure) to take the picture of Nicole and Clifford.

Where has the time gone? I have no idea; it has passed way too fast. I am sure it is the same for all of you also. We must tell our family stories because if we don’t, they will be lost within a generation or two. The picture below is of Nicole. The time has gone way too fast.

Nicole Moore. “The years just pass like trains I wave but they don’t slow down” ― Steven Wilson

Moore Family Picture

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24 Responses to Can We Keep Him?

  1. allenrizzi says:

    You are so right – We must hang onto these wonderful stories and record them for future generations. BTW – I always advise to back-up EVERYTHING in two separate locations. The work we do in genealogy cannot be easily replaced.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I agree with your advise. I keep my family tree in at least four places. With over 9000 names and record sources its’ lost would be the un-doing of over 40 years of work.

  2. Susan Lewis says:

    I love this Charles and so, so true!

  3. Amy says:

    What a sweet story, Charles! And I love how the look on Clifford’s face matches the circumstances—he clearly is stunned to be hugged by this adorable little girl. Cherish your memories, and thanks for sharing this one.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I think the look on Clifford’s face and mine were about the same. Funny how time marches on. Nicole has been a big help in my family history research work. She often recalls things and put them together faster and better than I can.

      • Amy says:

        You are so lucky! I am hoping my grandson Nate will someday take over for me as he has a real interest in the family history. But he’s only nine, so I have to wait before I can enlist his help!

      • chmjr2 says:

        That is when it starts. Nikki would listen to me at that age as I told tales (some tall ones also) about our family. Soon she was at my side as I did research and I would have to give her busy work so I could get things done. If I went on a field trip she was brought along to help. Perhaps it was I usually took her to a fast food place (I hate fast food) to eat as part of the deal. Soon she was a key helper. Sometime I think she has a better grasp on the research than I do.

      • Amy says:

        You are fortunate to live close enough to each other to do that. My nephew lives three hours away so I don’t get to spend that kind of time with him. But we do get a week with him during the summer, so maybe this summer I will get him to work with me.

  4. What a touching story of a precious memory! Thanks for sharing–it warms my heart❣️

  5. Perfect post and a reminder to that ‘todays’ stories need to be told. What a fun sweet memory and thanks for sharing your beautiful granddaughter with us 🙂

  6. dlpedit says:

    The backstories behind old photos is always interesting. Thanks for sharing this one. (You’ve given me some writing ideas!)

  7. Elizabeth says:

    What a lovely young woman that cute dog hugger grew into. I think more of us should write some texts to go with at least a few photos. You have inspired me.

  8. What a wonderful story behind the photograph. Creating precious memories with our loved ones is so important. Your granddaughter is a beautiful young lady.

  9. Eilene Lyon says:

    This is such a sweet story and photo! To me, genealogy is nothing without the history, the stories. I hope you’ll write more of these. Clearly you’ve found a way to motivate the younger generation to be involved in family history – kudos!

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