The De Gracia Family

About a million years ago, I lived in Atlanta and went to middle school. We had just moved from West Germany (a few months before the Berlin Wall came down) and my parents bought a house in a quiet subdivision in Clayton County. It was a lovely lot situated around a small pond that was shared by the neighborhood. Next door lived Nortasha and her family. She and I were in the same grade and rode the school bus together. Despite being neighbors, we ran around in different circles, so we actually didn’t know each other very well.

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Fast forward those million years and we became friends on Facebook. Our kids are the same age. We share similar values and appreciate the same sense of humor. I like things she posts, she likes things I post. We keep an eye on each other in this way.

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For all the reasons Facebook is annoying and intrusive, I can’t foresee leaving this online community. Army brats can’t nail down a hometown. For us, there is no such place. When you move every three years, home is where the Army sends you, and in 1990, the Army sent us to Atlanta, next door to the Graves family.

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We go to Atlanta once or twice a year to visit friends. Some time last fall, Nortasha and I started messaging about family photos. Nothing concrete, just something like, “Hey, next time you’re down this way, let’s figure it out.”

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Of course! There’s no question. This is life coming full circle. Photograph your children? Absolutely. 

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We met at a park Sunday morning. It was chilly, not as warm as it had been all week, but the sun was shining and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. We hugged, made introductions, and got started.

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Nortasha and her husband, Adolfo, are adorable. Lovebirds, sweethearts, the whole nine. All I had to do was click the camera.

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Their children, Gigi and Gabriel, were great sports – teeth chattering, but smiling and doing their best, despite the cool temperatures.

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This photo session was a gift to me, a valuable reminder that paths can cross again, new memories can be made, and people aren’t ever really forgotten.

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Thanks for carving out some time this weekend, De Gracia family. I hope we can do it again.  

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