In the beginning the family stood in the yard, not on the porch, for the photos. That beginning was in December 1938. My grandparents and youngest uncle left Germany shortly after the Kristallnacht* and bought a small farmhouse on an acreage of land outside Stillwater, Oklahoma. For me, that house represented unconditional love since inside it lived three people who loved me dearly; my grandmother, my grandfather, and my bachelor Uncle Max and they never disciplined me.
In the early pictures my relatives stood ramrod straight with serious expressions and small smiles. It was around the time I was a toddler, the mid-fifties, when the setting began changing to the porch. As time went on it became a tradition to have a group picture there whenever we had family gatherings. Over the years the family became more and more relaxed when being photographed. Instead of standing like soldiers we sat or slouched and threw our arms around each other. With each year the crowd on the porch looked more and more America.